How to Live to Age 90: Research Suggests Exercise is Key

Posted on 19 February 2020

A study published in 2014 examined predictors for survival until age 90 amongst 380 Swedish 75-year-olds. Among all of the factors studied, it was found that responses to exercise, such as increased blood pressure, were the strongest predictors for survival in men. In women, exercise capacity was still a predictor, but not as predictive as a low white blood cell count. Generally, the predictive ability of the factors studied was stronger in men than in women.

In men, low brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) – a hormone that controls sodium levels and blood volume – was an impressive predictor of survival. The study found that no males with a BNP of below 10 picograms died by age 90. This is likely to be related to cardiac amyloidosis, a condition that involves stiffening of the heart and is strongly associated with high BNP.

As the exercise response can be improved by training, this made exercise capacity the most significant modifiable predictor for survival to age 90, at least amongst inhabitants of a select geographic region. Interestingly, high exercise capacity appeared to outweigh the impact of many traditional risk factors and diseases.

Exercise capacity clearly exceeds the importance of several
established diseases to life expectancy. Therefore, a
physically active lifestyle could compensate well for
the prognostically adverse effects of such diseases.
Taken together, the results of this analysis are
important for preventive health care among the

Nilsson, G., Hedberg, P., & Öhrvik, J. (2014). How to live until 90 – Factors predicting survival in 75-year-olds from the general population. Retrieved 19 February 2020, from https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/How-to-live-until-90-Factors-predicting-survival-in-Nilsson-Hedberg/2c4bd6abf8ebfd32e242f79299f09751513c8f87


How to live until 90 - Factors predicting survival in 75-year-olds from the general population: DOI:10.12715/har.2014.3.5

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