It’s a more realistic goal, and offers just as much health benefits, as the current guidelines that recommend 21 minutes of moderate exercise every day, or 150 minutes a week.
Right now, fewer than half of older people meet the current guidelines, say researchers from the University Hospital of Saint-Etienne, and so they wanted to find out just how little the over-60s need to do in order to reduce the risks of major chronic disease and premature death.
They followed a group of 1,011 people aged 65 for 12 years, and measured the amount of exercise they were having. During the trial period, 88 participants died, and the risk of dying reduced as the amount of exercise increased. Those who exercised the most had a 35 per cent lower risk of dying prematurely, while those whose activity levels were low were only 22 per cent less likely to die.
The researchers estimate that the optimum amount of moderate exercise works out to around 15 minutes a day or 105 minutes a week, which can be achieved from a brisk walk.