Regardless of their genetic structure, physically active women may live longer
A nationwide study was conducted by researchers from the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at the University of California San Diego and other institutions to determine whether physical activity had an advantage over genetics in promoting longevity.
The researchers discovered that higher levels of light, moderate, or vigorous physical activity correlated with a lower risk of all-cause deaths after analysing health data from over 5,000 older postmenopausal women.
The conclusions are built on earlier research that demonstrated that spending more time sitting has negative health effects.
Regardless of [older women’s] genetic propensity for longevity, the results “confirm the value of higher physical activity (PA) and reduced sedentary time (ST) for lowering mortality risk,” the researchers concluded.
Recently, the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity published the results of their prospective study.
Key Highlights Of The Study
- According to health professionals, maintaining an active lifestyle can help older people age well.
- Researchers in California discovered that women over 60 may experience a reduced risk of death from physical activity, regardless of its intensity.
- In addition, despite genetic inclination for long life, their nationwide investigation found more proof that more sedentary behaviours increase mortality risk.
- In order to lower their risk of illness and early mortality, the authors hope that these findings may motivate older women to stay active.
OPACH women’s study
UC San Diego researchers examined the physical activity data of over 5,000 ambulatory women aged 63 and older.
The relevance of the OPACH study was described to Medical News Today by the study’s lead author, Alexander Posis, MPH, a PhD candidate in the San Diego State University/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health:
“Our study used pre-existing data from the Objective Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Health (OPACH) study, which is part of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) that started in the early 1990s because women had not been included in many epidemiologic studies and clinical trials.”
Researchers were able to examine the relationship between physical activity and the risk of death, cancer, cognitive decline, and physical impairment thanks to the data that was produced.
First, the researchers discovered that higher Sedentary Time (ST) was linked to a higher risk of death whereas lighter or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was linked to a decreased risk of death. It’s interesting that these relationships persisted regardless of one’s genetic propensity for long life.
Interestingly, compared to the other Genetic Risk Source (GRS) groups, the low-GRS participants were younger, more active, and had superior physical functioning scores. In comparison to the medium and high GRS groups, those with low GRS were also “more likely to be of Black race/ethnicity.”
“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,” Aladdin H. Shadyab, PhD, the study’s senior author and assistant professor at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science, said in a news release.
The work is a “well-done study [… with] a lot of fantastic data,” according to Dr. Scott Kaiser, a geriatrician and the head of Geriatric Cognitive Health for the Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. He did issue a warning, noting that the current study was an association study rather than one intended to establish causation.
In order to reduce the risk of disease and mortality, Dr. Kaiser wants people to realise that genetics do not take precedence over a healthy lifestyle.
The closest thing we have to a miraculous cure for healthy ageing, he claimed, is exercise.