The number and scope of established health-related benefits from physical activity continue to expand. Notable recent additions include improved weight status and bone health in children 3–5 years of age, prevention of excessive weight gain among adults, reduced risk of dementia, and improved cognition and a variety of other brain-health benefits. Greater flexibility in receiving health benefits is also apparent. No threshold of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) must be exceeded for benefits to accrue; small increments by individuals performing little to no MVPA produce larger reductions in risk than similarly sized increments in individuals already performing greater amounts of MVPA, bouts of MVPA <10 min in duration contribute to the accumulation of MVPA, and light-intensity physical activity can benefit individuals currently doing little or no MVPA. MVPA is indirectly related to the adverse effects of sedentary behavior. The definition of physical activity continues to be debated.
Physical Activity: Cornucopia and Conundrums
Kenneth E. Powell and Steven N. Blair
Aging and Exercise: A Health Perspective
Joanna L. Bokovoy and Steven N. Blair
Habitual exercise provides protection against fatal coronary heart disease, extends longevity, and enhances quality of life. National surveys show less physical activity in older men and women compared with middle-aged and younger persons; older women are particularly sedentary. Although there are still few longitudinal studies on exercise and physical activity in older individuals, the data support a positive relationship between physical activity and health and function in older individuals. The data further show that with regular physical activity, health and physical fitness are maintained or even increased over time in older individuals. Studies on physical activity requirements for beneficial health effects in the elderly are reviewed and presented, and exercise recommendations for older individuals are given.