Exercise may cut long-term mortality in older adults, study says

By Tauren Dyson

March 13 (UPI) -- Working out more can help the body and mind, which can ultimately help to extend a person's life, a new study says.

About 65 percent of people with an average age of 72 showed cognitive frailty, according to findings published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.


Cognitive frailty, the condition of being both mentally impaired and physically frail but without dementia symptoms, puts people at a greater risk of death than having either of the symptoms separately.

The good news is that physical activity reduces the risk of cognitive frailty by 35 percent, the research says.

For 14 years, researchers from Spain looked at the condition in nearly 3,700 older adults.

"Compared to those who were robust and active, participants with cognitive frailty who were inactive had the highest mortality risk, which was equivalent to being almost 7 years older," Irene Esteban-Cornejo, a researcher at the University of Granada and study first author, in a news release.

Individually, cognitive impairment and physical frailty carry an increased risk of hospitalization, disability and death.

However, the amount of physical activity goes down as people get older.


"This research may have important implications because the levels of physical activity are dramatically reduced in the elderly while cognitive and physical functioning decline is naturally occurring," the study authors wrote.

So the researchers are calling for older people to exercise more. They also want health professionals to promote physical activity to their patients to ward off cognitive frailty.

Many other studies say exercise can help older people by reducing blood pressure and providing other healthy benefits.

"From a public health perspective, promoting a physically active lifestyle could be one of the main strategies against cognitive frailty-related mortality. However, further longitudinal and experimental studies are needed to shed light on the importance of physical activity to decrease mortality in cognitively frail individuals," the study authors wrote.

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