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Comment & Response
November 2015

Physical Activity and Successful Aging: Even a Little Is Good

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Clinical and Exercise Physiology, Autonomic Nervous System and Exercise Physiology Laboratories, University Hospital of Saint-Etienne, PRES Lyon, Jean Monnet University, Saint-Etienne, France
JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(11):1862-1863. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.4744

To the Editor Recently in JAMA Internal Medicine, two studies1,2 highlighted the need of vigorous-intensity and/or long durations of physical activity for older adults. However, this is hardly feasible. Less than 50% are able to achieve the recommended minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per week.3,4 In a cohort of 204 542 middle-aged and older Australians followed over the course of 6.5 years (7435 deaths included), Gebel et al1 reported significant benefits of vigorous-intensity physical activity in reducing mortality. Thus, they encourage vigorous intensity in activity guidelines to maximize benefits of physical activity in older adults.1 Can we recommend running to older adults for whom brisk walking is too demanding? Arem et al2 pooled data from 6 studies (5 American, 1 Swedish), including 661 137 middle-aged and older adults with 14.2 follow-up years (116 686 deaths registered) and reported an optimal threshold between 3 to 5 times the physical activity recommendations.2 Can we recommend 150 min/d physical activity to older adults who are not able to achieve 150 min/wk?

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