Physical Activity, Exercise, and Aging

Grainne S. Gorman, Josh Wood, and Michael I. Trenell

Newcastle University, U.K.


Across the globe, people of all ages do not undertake sufficient physical activity to maintain good health (Hallal et al., 2012). Our everyday lives can be broken down broadly into three movement types; physical inactivity, physical activity, and exercise. These activities both influence health and wellbeing and change across life. One of the first studies to outline the importance of everyday physical activity reported the differences in incidence of coronary complications in bus drivers and bus conductors in London (Morris, Heady, Raffle, Roberts, & Parks, 1953), the key difference between the two positions being that bus drivers remain seated for the day while bus conductors walk up and down the bus. In this study, one of the pioneers in this field, Professor Morris, showed that the bus drivers were more than twice as likely to have a coronary complication than bus conductors. This was the first study to report that patterns of everyday physical activity, importantly not exercise, just everyday movement, had a real and significant influence upon disease progression. More recent studies have built upon these seminar findings and provided granularity, but essentially show that moving more and sitting less provides health benefits for you whether you are young or old, male or female.

The mechanisms by which physical inactivity, physical activity, ...

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