"Even a little bit of moderate exercise is better than nothing," says epidemiologist Dr. Lawrence Kushi of the University of Minnesota. He and other researchers gathered information from a study of more than 40,000 Iowa women, ages 55 to 69.
Women who reported doing moderate exercise (golfing, bowling, gardening, or taking long walks) as little as once a week were 24 percent less likely to die over a seven-year time period than women who did not exercise. This jumped to 38 percent with women who exercised moderately four or more times a week.
But those women who engaged in vigorous exercise did the best. Those who reported jogging, doing aerobics, playing racket sports, or swimming four or more times a week were 43 percent less likely to die in the seven years than inactive women. "More is better, but a little is good, too," Dr. Kushi says.