New study re­veals how we be­come less ac­tive and more seden­tary in mid­dle-age

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Fitness -

NEW RE­SEARCH has high­lighted how we slide into a more seden­tary life dur­ing mid­dle age, which could have im­por­tant and dan­ger­ous im­pli­ca­tions for health. Con­ducted by re­searchers at The Univer­sity of Texas Health Science Cen­tre at Hous­ton (UTHealth), the study is the first to look at age-re­lated changes in lev­els of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity in mid­dleage over such a large scale.

For the re­search, the team gath­ered data from the Coro­nary Artery Risk De­vel­op­ment in Young Adults Study (CARDIA), which started fol­low­ing par­tic­i­pants 30 years ago, mea­sur­ing their ac­tiv­ity lev­els with an ac­celerom­e­ter, a de­vice sim­i­lar to a pe­dome­ter.

Af­ter look­ing at 962 sub­jects at ages 38-50 years, and again at a ten-year fol­low-up when age 48 to 60 years, the re­searchers found that both light in­ten­sity and mod­er­ate- to vig­or­ous-in­ten­sity ac­tiv­ity lev­els dropped dur­ing the ten years by an av­er­age of a half an hour a day, and were re­placed by a seden­tary ac­tiv­ity.

The de­creases were found in both men and women, how­ever black men showed the big­gest de­cline, usu­ally start­ing as the most ac­tive but re­duc­ing their ac­tiv­ity lev­els by nearly one hour daily. Black women started as the least ac­tive and con­tin­ued to have the low­est phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity lev­els ten years later.

“We know higher in­ten­sity phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity tends to de­cline with age. But these find­ings show just how much even gen­tle forms of ac­tiv­ity that are part of daily rou­tines, like ca­sual walk­ing, slip in midlife, which doesn’t bode at all well for fu­ture health and should serve as a wake-up call to us all,” said first and cor­re­spond­ing au­thor Kel­ley Pet­tee Gabriel.

“Mak­ing rel­a­tively small life­style changes, and tak­ing ad­van­tage of missed op­por­tu­ni­ties to be phys­i­cally ac­tive could have a cru­cial bear­ing on how peo­ple are setting them­selves up for be­ing more re­silient dur­ing older adult­hood. Sim­ple changes all add up, like walk­ing to the cor­ner cof­fee shop, park­ing fur­ther away from the store en­trance or tak­ing the stairs rather than the es­ca­la­tor,” she added.

US na­tional guide­lines rec­om­mend at least two and a half hours of mod­er­ate in­ten­sity ac­tiv­ity per week, or an hour and 15 min­utes of vig­or­ous in­ten­sity ac­tiv­ity per week, or an equiv­a­lent com­bi­na­tion of both. They also ad­vise avoid­ing seden­tary time, with even light ac­tiv­ity such as house­work and gar­den­ing rec­om­mended as be­ing bet­ter than none at all, es­pe­cially for older adults. The re­sults can be found pub­lished on­line in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Epi­demi­ol­ogy. –Re­laxnews

Mak­ing rel­a­tively small life­style changes, and tak­ing ad­van­tage of missed op­por­tu­ni­ties to be phys­i­cally ac­tive could have a cru­cial bear­ing on how peo­ple are setting them­selves up for be­ing more re­silient dur­ing older adult­hood.

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