A Queensland study recommends older women undertake high intensity exercise for up to 45 minutes, five days a week.

Older women should be doing at least 30 minutes of moderate to high intensity exercise most days of the week, a study has found.

Research by Queensland University of Technology, published in the journal Maturitas, says exercise that leaves you “huffing and puffing” is essential to reducing the risk of death in postmenopausal women.

“Once we thought that 30 minutes of mild exercise a day was enough to improve health,” says Professor Debra Anderson from QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation.

“Research is now telling us that older women should be doing at least 30 to 45 minutes five times a week of moderate to high intensity exercise.”

The study led by Prof Anderson and QUT’s Charlotte Seib reviewed five years of research that looked at the impact of exercise on the mental and physical health in women above the age of 50 years.

Researchers noticed that older women were capable of undertaking a range of activities beyond simple walking.

They noted that many women were still jogging, running, hiking, swimming and riding as they moved into the later years of their lives.

Prof Anderson said women would benefit from being prescribed exercise as medicine.

“In addition to conventional treatments for physical and mental health, health professionals should be prescribing tailored exercise programs for older women.”