Half of the Luxembourg residents aged 50+ are doing a physical activity of vigorous-intensity | LISER

Half of the Luxembourg residents aged 50+ are doing a physical activity of vigorous-intensity

Physical activity includes leisure time (walking, cycling), occupational (i.e. work), household duties, play, games, sports or planned exercise, in the context of daily, family, and community activities.

Physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers physical inactivity (lack of physical activity) as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. To reduce the risk of mortality, WHO recommends to adults aged 18+ “to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity”. In 2015, half of the Luxembourg residents aged 50+ responded to doing a vigorous-intensity physical activity at least once a week. Luxembourg appears in the middle of the ranking among the countries participating in the SHARE survey.

Age and gender disparities

In Luxembourg and in most of the other countries participating in SHARE, males (54%) are more likely to do a vigorous-intensity physical activity at least once a week than females (45%). While it has been shown that the risk of cardiovascular diseases or of some cancers is reduced by doing a physical activity, occurrences decline with age. Among men living in Luxembourg, 64% of those aged 50 to 59 do a vigorous-intensity physical activity versus only 38% for those aged 70+.

Physical activity includes leisure time (for example: walking, dancing, gardening, hiking, swimming), transportation (e.g. walking or cycling), occupational (i.e. work), household chores, play, games, sports or planned exercise, in the context of daily, family, and community activities (for more information click here).

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers physical inactivity (lack of physical activity) as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality (for more information, click here). Regular and adequate levels of physical activity reduce the risk of mortality*. To do so, adults aged 18+ should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity (WHO recommendations - for more information, click here). Adjustments in the intensity of the physical activity for each individual may be needed depending on their health and risk.

In Luxembourg, the SHARE survey provides information on the level of physical activity among the population aged 50+. In this survey, vigorous-intense physical activity is measured by doing, at least once a week, vigorous physical activity, such as sport, arduous domestic duties or physical effort at work. Moderate-activity is defines as activities requiring moderate physical effort such as gardening, cleaning his car or walk at least once a week. Finally, a low physical activity is defined by doing such activities one to three times a month, or to do little or no physical activity.

In 2015, half of the Luxembourg residents aged 50+ responded doing a physical activity of vigorous-intensity at least once a week. This places Luxembourg in the middle of the ranking of countries participating in the SHARE survey. People aged 50+ are the most active in the Nordic countries and Switzerland: 61% of Danish residents, 60% of Swiss residents and 59% of Swedish residents aged 50+ responded to doing a physical activity of vigorous-intensity at least once a week,. Mediterranean countries such as Spain (37%), Portugal (36%) and Italy (35%) are lagging behind. These trends can also be observed in other studies even if methodologies differ from one study to another (for more information, click here). Compared to their neighbors, Luxembourg residents aged 50+ do a vigorous-intensity physical activity more often than Belgians (44%) or French of the same age (42%), but slightly less often than Germans (54%). Moreover, Luxembourg is one of the countries with the lowest level of people aged 50+ doing little or no physical activity. Indeed, only 13% of Luxembourg residents of 50+ reported doing low physical activity or no physical activity at all.

Males are more likely to do a vigorous-intensity physical activity at least once a week than females (54% men compared to 45% women in Luxembourg). Unsurprisingly, physical activity decreases with age, both for men and women. For example, among men, 64% of the Luxembourg residents aged 50 to 59 do a vigorous-intensity physical activity versus 38% for men aged 70+. This decline is even larger for women: 60% of Luxembourg residents aged 50 to 59 do a vigorous-intensity physical activity at least once per week compared to 27% for those aged 70+.

However, doing a physical activity is beneficial at any age and especially for seniors. For example, doing a physical activity at 50+ allows an increase in life expectancy, reduces the risk of diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and some cancers. It also has a positive impact on the musculoskeletal system and the neurocognitive front (having a better quality of life, or preserving peoples' autonomy - for more information, click here).

 

* WHO, Global action plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases 2013-2020, 2013, 55p.

Field

Luxembourg residents aged 50+

Source

SHARE survey, wave 6, 2015, LISER calculations

Reading Guide

In 2015, 49% of residents of Luxembourg aged 50 and over are engaged in a vigorous physical activity, 38% in a moderate physical activity and 13% in a low physical activity.