Background: Regular physical activity contributes to the prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases. However, the frequency of physical activity often declines with age, particularly among the elderly. Thus, we investigated the effects of daily walking on mortality among younger-elderly men (65–74 years) with or without major critical diseases (heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, or cancer).
Methods: We assessed 1239 community-dwelling men aged 64/65 years from the New Integrated Suburban Seniority Investigation Project. We estimated hazard ratios (HRs) of all-cause mortality and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) according to daily walking duration and adjusted for potential confounders, including survey year, marital status, work status, education, smoking and drinking status, BMI, regular exercise, regular sports, sleeping time, medical status, disease history, and functional capacity.
Results: For men without critical diseases, mortality risk declined linearly with increased walking time after adjustment for confounders (Ptrend = 0.018). Walking ≥2 hours/day was significantly associated with lower all-cause mortality (HR 0.49; 95% CI, 0.27–0.90). For men with critical diseases, walking 1–2 hours/day showed a protective effect on mortality compared with walking <0.5 hours/day after adjustment for confounders (HR 0.29; 95% CI, 0.06–1.20). Walking ≥2 hours/day showed no benefit on mortality in men with critical diseases, even after adjustment for confounders.
Conclusions: Different duration of daily walking was associated with decreased mortality for younger-elderly men with or without critical diseases, independent of sociodemographic and lifestyle factors, BMI, medical status, disease history, and functional capacity. Incorporating regular walking into daily lives of younger-elderly men may improve longevity and successful aging.