Midlife may not be too late to start exercising
Adults who increased leisure-time physical activity later in life had a low risk for mortality comparable to those who maintained activity consistently throughout adulthood, according to findings recently published in JAMA Network Open.
“Little is known about how long-term participation in leisure-time physical activity from adolescence to early adulthood and into middle age may affect mortality,” Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, PhD, division of cancer epidemiology and genetics, National Cancer Institute, and colleagues wrote.
Researchers examined how leisure-time physical activity patterns as a teenager (aged 15 to 18 years) as well as early (aged 19 to 29 years), middle (aged 35 to 39 years), and later adulthood (aged 40 to 61 years), were tied to all-cause, CVD and cancer mortality in a prospective cohort of 315,059 people, 58.2% of whom were men. Activity levels studied ranged from 0 to 10 hours per week.
Saint-Maurice and colleagues found participants who were less active throughout most of their lives but increased activity aged 40 to 61 years had lower risk for all-cause (HR = 0.65; 95% CI, 0.62-0.68), CVD-related (HR = 0.57; 95% CI, 0.53-0.61), and cancer-related (HR = 0.84; 95% CI, 0.77-0.92) mortality. In addition, those who were consistently inactive and maintained higher amounts of leisure-time physical activity throughout their life had lower all-cause (HR = 0.64; 95% CI, 0.6-0.68), CVD-related (HR = 0.58; 95% CI, 0.53-0.64), and cancer-related (HR = 0.86; 95% CI, 0.77-0.97) mortality.
“Our findings suggest that it is not too late for adults to become active. These findings are particularly informative for health care professionals advising individuals who have been physically inactive throughout much of their adulthood that substantial health benefits can still be gained by improving their physical activity habits,” Saint-Maurice and colleagues concluded. – by Janel Miller
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.