According to new research from a Norwegian health project, 30 minutes of regular physical activity is healthy for people and employees in old age. That might be the most obvious statement you read today but, the figures are worth noting; elderly men who engage in physical activity six days a week are likely to have a 40% lower risk of death compared to sedentary people.
The more exercise the men did, the greater the result – but light activity for more than an hour a week had a measurable benefit. The report also added that physical activity was as “beneficial as smoking cessation” at reducing deaths.
The Norwegian report covered just over 5,000 adults and doesn’t tell a compelling story about the benefits of exercise on its own. However, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) released statistics last weekend that shows that the UK is lagging behind much of Europe as 44% of us do no moderate exercise.
The UK is ranked 16th compared to the other 27 EU countries, such as Netherlands where as few as 14% do no brisk exercise, and Denmark and Finland, where the proportion is 23%.
On the positive side, the UK is above average for the amount of people regularly exercising or playing sport. The UK placed 12th for regular physical exercise with 10% of us engaging in the activity frequently.
The UK was 10th for the worst sedentary behaviour, with 13% of people in the UK sat on our backsides for over 8 hours a day.
The BHF has advised that inactivity is contributing to more people suffering from coronary heart disease, costing the UK an estimated £542 million a year. The total cost of physical inactivity is now estimated to be greater than £900 million a year.