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Research in women shows a significant link between regular exercise in middle age and physical health in later life

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Research in women shows a significant link between regular exercise in middle age and physical health in later life

Researchers assess the physical health and activity levels of women in midlife and later life. Credit: Pixabay, Pexels (CC0, creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed)

Consistent adherence to physical activity guidelines in midlife is associated with higher health-related quality of life in women, according to a study published May 2 in the open access journal. PLOS medicine by Binh Nguyen from the University of Sydney, Australia, and colleagues.

The evidence for an association between physical activity and health-related quality of life is mainly based on cross-sectional studies and short-term randomized controlled trials. Few longitudinal studies have measured physical activity at more than one time point and examined the long-term causal effects of exercise.

In the study, researchers used data collected at three-year intervals beginning in 1996 from 11,336 participants in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Women were born between 1946 and 1951, making them 47 to 52 years old at the start of the study. Participants were classified as either meeting the WHO physical activity guidelines (of 150 minutes of activity per week) over the 15-year exposure period, initially not meeting the guidelines but beginning to meet them at age 55 , 60 or 65 years, or never met the guidelines. guidelines.

Health-related quality of life was assessed using the physical health composite score (PCS) and the mental health composite score (MCS) from the Short Form 36 Health Survey, which includes 36 questions on functional health and well-being.

On average, people who consistently met physical activity guidelines and those who first started meeting the guidelines at age 55 had a three-point higher PCS (46.93 [95% CI 46.32 to 47.54] and 46.96 [95% CI 45.53 to 48.40]respectively), compared to those who did not meet physical activity guidelines (43.90 [95% CI 42.79 to 45.01]).

The effect of physical activity on PSC was significant even after controlling for socio-economic factors and pre-existing health diagnoses. However, there was no significant association between physical activity and MCS.

“Combined with existing evidence, this study adds to a growing body of evidence of the benefits of maintaining or adopting an active lifestyle in midlife,” say the authors.

“An important public health message is that being active for as many years as possible, even if women start meeting physical activity guidelines in their mid-50s, can have important health benefits in terms of physical health, especially in terms of Operate.”

The authors add: “Our research shows that it is important for women to be active until mid-age to reap the most physical health benefits later in life. Ideally, women should increase their activity levels to achieve fitness by age 55 comply with the guidelines.”

More information:
Nguyen B, Clare P, Mielke GI, Brown WJ, Ding D, Physical activity during midlife and health-related quality of life in Australian women: a target study emulation using a longitudinal cohort. PLoS medicine (2024). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1004384

Provided by the Public Library of Science


Quote: Research in women shows significant link between regular exercise in middle age and physical health in later life (2024, May 2), retrieved May 2, 2024 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2024-05-women- significant-link -regular-middle.html

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