OBJECTIVE—The purpose of this study is to determine the optimal duration and intensity of exercise for elderly people for the prevention of the metabolic syndrome.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—The population-based Cooperative Research in the Region of Augsburg (KORA) S4 Survey with 1,653 participants aged 55–74 years was used to investigate the relationship between the metabolic syndrome and physical activity.
RESULTS—Fifty-seven percent of men and 48% of women showed clinical symptoms of the metabolic syndrome. Leisure activities were common (>80% walked >30 min/day). Sports activities performed regularly for ≤1 h per week reduced the odds of having the metabolic syndrome (odds ratio 0.70 [95% CI 0.49–1.02] for men and 0.74 [0.53–1.04] for women), and sports activities >2 h per week were even more effective (0.62 [0.42–0.92] for men and 0.59 [0.39–0.89] for women). In contrast, activities such as walking and cycling did not have an additional influence.
CONCLUSIONS—Intense physical activity by the elderly should be promoted in addition to leisure physical activity for the prevention of the metabolic syndrome.