More than one-quarter of senior Americans do not exercise enough, which increases their risk of developing cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, according to a new study published on Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The study defined “being inactive” as simply getting out of the sofa to do ordinary daily activities. Researchers analyzed data from a 2014 national survey conducted on adults over fifty years old, regarding well-being and health.  Janet Fulton, of the Physical Activity and Health Branch at CDC and co-author of the study, stated that “adults benefit from any amount of physical activity. Helping inactive people become more physically active is a major step towards healthier and more vibrant communities.”

Elderly adults, exercise
Image credit: National Sleep Foundation.

Based on the definition of “inactivity,” the study concluded than 31 million senior U.S. citizens are inactive. Nearly 26 percent of men and almost 30 percent of women over 50 years old are inactive.

26 percent of whites do not exercise enough, while 30 percent of blacks and Hispanics and 27 percent of all ethnic and other racial groups follow the same trend.

As people get older, they exercise less and less, the study suggested. For example, only 25 percent of adults between the ages of 50 and 64 were inactive, compared to 27 percent of those aged 65 to 74, and 35 percent of those over 75.

Those who exercise the most live in the West, with 77 percent of the interviewees being active, followed by those who live in the Midwest, with 72 percent claiming to do exercise regularly, and finally the Southerners with 70 percent of active people.

People in Arkansas exercise the less of them all, with almost 40 percent being inactive, while Colorado is the home of the most active senior Americans, with 18 percent of inactivity.

Also, those who are overweight exercise less, while the most educated people tend to be more active. Healthy people also move more constantly that those who suffer from chronic diseases.

30 minutes of exercise per day is enough to extend life expectancy

Experts recommend at least half an hour of daily activity. Exercise can extend one’s lifespan and lower the risk of suffering from diabetes, dementia, heart disease and even some types of cancer. For seniors, it also means less broken bones and falls.

According to Kathleen Watson, an epidemiologist at the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, and lead author of the study, “more work is needed to make it safer and easier for people of all ages and abilities to be physically active in their communities.”

So far, the study concluded that one out of four senior adults should be getting more exercise. This could also help lower health bills since CDC has stated that every year American adults over 50 account for 860 billion dollars in health care costs, something that can be easily prevented with a little bit of movement.

Source: WebMD