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To live longer, exercise vigorously: Report

Exercise ‘boosts women’s life expectancy’

Women have a higher life expectancy than men in Kenya

Over the last two decades, life expectancy has been on the rise in Kenya.

For example, between 2001 and 2016, Kenya recorded a dramatic increase in life expectancy.

Statistics from WHO show that women in Kenya have a better life expectancy than men.

The 2017 Annual Global Burden of Disease study attributed this rise in women’s life expectancy to improvements in educational levels of mothers, rising per capita incomes, declining levels of fertility and increased vaccination programmes.

By 2018, Kenya had a global life expectancy ranking of 132, with women having a life expectancy average of 68.9 years and men having an average of 64.4 years. Currently, Kenyans have an average of around 67 years.

The life expectancy gap between men and women is now set to grow wider if the findings of a new medical report are anything to go by. The report conducted by a team of medical researchers at the European Society of Cardiology says women who can exercise vigorously are at a significantly lower risk of dying from heart disease, cancer and other causes which lower life expectancy.

“The annual rate of death from cardiovascular disease is nearly four times higher in women with poor exercise capacity compared to women with good exercise capacity,” the report says.

This study followed 4,714 women in a median period of 4.6 years, during which 345 cardiovascular deaths, 164 cancer deaths and 203 deaths from other causes were reported. The annual cancer deaths were doubled in patients with poor exercise capacity, while annual rate of death from other causes was more than four times higher for women with a poor exercise record.

“Women whose heart works normally during exercise are unlikely to have a cardiovascular event. But, if their exercise capacity is poor, they are still at risk of death from cancer or other causes, and a subsequent lower life expectancy,” said Dr Jesús Peteiro from the University Hospital A Coruña, Spain, who led the team of doctors in the study.

The effectiveness of vigorous physical exercises on cancer comes as a relief for women who are mostly affected by this disease.