Shocking Number of Americans Aged 50+ Not Getting Exercise

Women in aerobics class

A recent study found that as many as 31 million Americans aged 50+ fail to get the recommended amount of physical activity. This means that one in four Americans in this age group fails to move beyond their necessary everyday activities.

The study is the work of researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC researchers noted physical activity has multiple health benefits such as lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s and early death. But despite the benefits, 31 million adults choose a sedentary lifestyle.

Co-author of the study Dr. Janet E. Fulton explained that any amount of exercise can benefit a person. Dr. Fulton believes authorities should spare no effort to convince people to exercise. She noted that communities with active members are more vibrant and healthier.

Women More Inactive

In their study, researchers sifted through two-year-old data on adult Americans from all states. The analysis revealed that women tended to be more inactive than men. About 30 percent of women reported no level of physical activity as compared to 25 percent of men.

Researchers also found that levels of physical activity dropped significantly as people grew older. For instance, about one-quarter in the 50-64 age group did not exercise on a regular basis. By contrast, 35 percent of people age 75 or older reported complete inactivity.

Study authors also reported lowest levels of activity in the South and the highest in the West. When looking at each state, Arkansas had the most inactive people with nearly 40 percent of the population failing to get exercise. Colorado was the most active with slightly under 18 percent of inactive residents.

What’s more, African-Americans and Latinos reported the lowest levels of physical activity.

Researchers said the findings may enable authorities to address inactivity amid their communities. Nevertheless, they called for more research so that younger participants are also involved.

Physical Inactivity Linked to Billion-Dollar Losses

According to the study’s background information, people in their 50s need $860 billion in medical costs every year. And this figure doesn’t include those in long-term care settings.

Researchers noted exercise can prevent or alleviate symptoms of four in five chronic diseases in this group. For instance, regular physical activity can prevent the elderly’s bones from becoming brittle and fracture-prone.

CDC experts say that adults up to age 65 should exercise at least 150 minutes per week at a moderate intensity. Researchers recommend brisk walking, bicycling on even terrain, gardening, shoveling snow, and water aerobics.

Older adults should follow the same recommendations as long as they have no limiting conditions and are usually fit. Nevertheless, they should first consult their doctor.

Americans Notoriously Sedentary

According to a 2015 study, about 83 million Americans from all age groups lead a sedentary life. Additionally, nearly 8 million Americans became inactive between 2009 and 2014.

The study also revealed that women and people aged 65 and older were more likely to skip exercise. Back then, researchers cautioned that inactivity rises with age and recommended at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day.

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