Intense Exercise: Reduces Risk of Death in Older Women

PT Blog   •   December, 2017

A recent study in the Journal Circulation demonstrates a high correlation between intense exercise and reduced death risk.  The study published this fall was conducted on predominately Caucasian females in their early 70s using a walking program.

While prior studies have had to rely on self-reports, with the use of ever-evolving technology, the study used a triaxial accelerometer to specifically measure bouts of exercise to ensure compliance with the program’s recommended intensity. The accelerometer was able to measure movements in all 3 planes: sagittal, horizontal and transverse ensuring detection of even the smallest movements.

The 4-year study examined 17,708 women who were capable of walking without an assistive device in the community.  After taking into account family history of cancer, smoking, and alcohol histories those women who completed the highest level of moderate – vigorous exercise (approximately 68 minutes/day) were shown to exhibits a 65% death risk reduction.

…the magnitude of the reduced risk of short-term death with recommended amounts of moderate to vigorous physical activity can be seen to be as strong as not smoking, Dr. I-min Lee said.

So what does this mean for us as physical therapists?  We do a really great job in aiding patients to return to function; however, sometimes we forget the long-term component of patient education in regard to cardiovascular exercise.  Emphasizing to your patients the benefits of cardiovascular exercise, particularly moderate-vigorous physical activity, will not only allow them to be healthier, but just may save their life!

Review Question

When studying, which method proves more beneficial during test taking: interweaving (studying various topics) or focusing on 1 topic during each study period?


Interweaving (studying various subjects at once), rather than focusing on one subject at a time, was shown to be most beneficial in a 2008 Kornell and UCLA study. It is believed studying in this manner aids in reapplying what you learned to memory allowing you to retain the information better.


About the Author:

Ashley Theobald, D.P.T. – Ashley was born and raised in a small town in Alabama. She attended the University of South Alabama and was an advanced undergraduate student completing her Bachelor of Science degree in pre-professional health sciences in 2012. She then graduated with her doctorate in physical therapy in 2014. During her first year of PT school she met and married her husband, Ben. They moved to Nashville, TN where she worked for 3 years in an outpatient clinic full time and at Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital PRN. She is now working for ATI Physical Therapy full-time in Greenville, SC. She has been an avid health and fitness fan playing softball growing up, tennis in high school, and completing 2 half-marathons in college. She enjoys traveling overseas and has completed 2 short-term medical mission trips for physical therapy in the Dominican Republic (2013) and Haiti (2015), with intentions of returning yearly.
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