Exercise and Diet Increase Lifespan of Elderly Women

The importance of lifestyle choices in attaining extreme longevity cannot be understated.  New evidence shows that these choices even if made late in life can still be beneficial.

Researchers studied 713 women age 73 to 79 and examined their diet and daily physical activity.  They were followed for five years.

They found that the women who were the most physically active and had the greatest amount of fruit and vegetable consumption were 8 times more likely than average to be alive at the end of the follow up period.

They also measured serum carotenoids, antioxidants associated with fruits and vegetables.

Key finds were as follows:

  • More than half of the 713 participants (53%) didn’t do any exercise, 21% were moderately active, and the remaining 26% were in the most active group at the study’s outset.
  • During the five-year follow up, 11.5% of the participants died. Serum carotenoid levels were 12% higher in the women who survived and total physical activity was more than twice as high.
  • Women in the most active group at baseline had a 71% lower five-year death rate than the women in the least active group.
  • Women in the highest carotenoid group at baseline had a 46% lower five-year death rate than the women in the lowest carotenoid group.
  • When taken together, physical activity levels and total serum carotenoids predicted better survival.


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3 Responses to “Exercise and Diet Increase Lifespan of Elderly Women”

  1. I wonder if the survivors were simply constitutionally (i.e., genetically) destined to live longer and be more vigorous, regardless of how much exercise they did. And regardless of fruit/veggie consumption.

    I do believe exercise prolongs lifespan, but leave open the other possibility. The way to test is to take sedentary 60-year-olds and “force” them to become exercisers for the rest of their lives. Then compare longevity to a control group.

    Of course, that study will never be done.

    I think Blair’s group (Cooper Clinic in Dallas, TX) has looked at middle-aged men who improved their level of fitness with an exercise program. They lived longer than those who didn’t improve their fitness levels.


  2. [...] A post at Extreme Longevity suggests that the answer is “yes.” [...]

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