According to a recent study, published in the online edition of the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, researchers at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at the University of California, San Diego, exercising may play a stronger role than genes in longevity. As per the prospective study, more light exercise and moderate-to-vigorous exercise are connected to a lesser risk of death. In addition, there is a higher risk of mortality in people who are inactive for longer periods. These relations are seen even in women who have different degrees of a propensity for long life.
Lead author Alexander Posis, M.P.H., a fourth-year doctoral student in the San Diego State University/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health, said, "The goal of this research was to understand whether associations between physical activity and sedentary time with death varied based on different levels of genetic predisposition for longevity." To conduct the study, in 2012, researchers started monitoring the physical activity of 5,446 American women of age 63 and more as part of the Women’s Health Initiative Objective Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Health project (OPACH). For at least seven days, the people carried a research-grade accelerometer to measure their movements, amount of physical activity, and time of inactivity.
Senior author Aladdin H. Shadyab, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at UC San Diego, said, "Our study showed that, even if you aren't likely to live long based on your genes, you can still extend your lifespan by engaging in positive lifestyle behaviors such as regular exercise and sitting less." He further added, "Conversely, even if your genes predispose you to a long life, remaining physically active is still important to achieve longevity."
The authors stated that the findings of this study confirm that older women should engage in daily physical activity of any level to lower the risk of chronic disease and early death, given the ageing adult population in the US and more time being spent on lesser-intense activities.