The importance of exercise; why 15 minutes a day could save a senior’s life

There’s a lot you can do in 15 minutes.

A new study suggests that if you’re 60 years or older, spending 15 minutes a day exercising may lower your risk of death by more than 20 percent.

“We are talking low-impact exercise and the best thing you can do is just simply walk,” said Nicole Kerr, director of wellness and lifestyle medicine at Castle Medical Center.

More than 123,000 seniors were followed for 10 years. When compared to those who were inactive, those with low levels of activity were 22 percent less likely to die.

For people with medium to high levels of activity, the risk of dying was reduced by 28 and 35 percent compared to people who weren’t active at all.

“We already know that studies have showed that if you exercise, you decrease your risk of heart disease, which is our number-one killer,” Kerr said. “Types of cancers, arthritis pain goes down when you exercise, insomnia goes down when you exercise.”

Castle Medical Center’s Longer Life Fitness Class offers seniors a chance to reach their exercise goals. It also helps with fall prevention, balance, dementia, and depression.

“Exercising with a buddy or a group class is one of the best things that you can do for that,” Kerr said.

Low-level exercise is equivalent to a 15-minute brisk walk each day.

Sadly, studies show less than half of our kupuna exercise the recommended minimum of 150 minutes of low-level or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity each week.

“It’s got to be habit-forming, so find something that’s fun and engaging for you that you can build into your routine every day,” Kerr said.

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