Just 30 minutes of exercise 'is as good as giving up smoking'
Regular exercise has equal health benefits to quitting smoking in elderly men, research has found.
A study carried out in Norway found that half an hour of exercise six times a week was linked to a 40pc lower risk of death in elderly males.
Even if the degree of activity was only light, mortality risk was lower than that of sedentary participants, and men who exercised lived up to five years longer than those who did not.
The research involving 6,000 men found carrying out less than an hour of light activity a week did not significantly lower the risk, but if the exercise was vigorous it could be reduced by as much as 37pc.
The study authors suggested public health strategies and campaigns aimed at the elderly should target physical activity to the same extent as smoking.
"Even when men were 73 years of age on average at start of follow-up, active persons had five years longer expected lifetime than the sedentary," the study authors said.