Newswise — Physical activity as the elixir of youth might seem like old news, but there's a new twist, according to the March issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource. For the best chance of a long, healthy life, marathon training is not required. But, staying busy and active might be.

Research published last year found that any activity that contributed to energy expenditure in older adults may help prolong life. Such activities can include household chores such as vacuuming, mopping the floor, washing windows, lawn work, caring for children or adults, walking or volunteering.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, tracked 302 adults between the ages of 70 and 84 for six years. Participants who had shown the highest energy expenditures had about half the mortality risk of those with the lowest energy expenditures. Participants most likely to be in the high-energy group reported climbing stairs or working for pay as a daily part of their lives.

Although researchers don't have all the answers about how daily activities affect longevity, it's heartening to know when people are "too busy" for exercise, staying busy around the house, at work, or in the community may contribute to a longer, healthier life.

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Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource is published monthly to help women enjoy healthier, more productive lives. Revenue from subscriptions is used to support medical research at Mayo Clinic.


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