Heart disease: Exercising for certain duration could ‘stave off major heart disease’ at 70

Heart disease: Doctor explains how to reduce risk

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Ageing makes people particularly susceptible to heart disease. It is one of the risk factors that, together with gender, family history, and ethnicity cannot be avoided or modified. Exercise later in life, however, could help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. A new study has found that daily exercise in people aged 70-75 could reduce the risk of major heart disease.

Being physically active has been generally associated with a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).

But in people aged 70+, exercise “may best stave off major heart disease”, according to research.

An analysis based on more than 3,000 older Italians, found that 20 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous exercise in early old age could reduce cardiovascular risks.

“Movement is medicine also in late life,” as Doctors Enrico Fabris and Gianfranco Sinagra of the University of Trieste put it.

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Participants were asked to provide information about their levels of physical activity throughout the study.

Among the major moderate activities chosen by people were walking, fishing, and bowls.

Participants also took up vigorous exercises like gym workouts, cycling, swimming, dancing, and gardening.

People completing at least 20 minutes of daily physical activity were defined as “active”, while the rest were classified as “inactive”.

Researchers found that “patterns of stable-high physical activity were associated with a 52 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease”.

Participants aged 70 seemed to gain greater benefits than people aged slightly less or more.

The risk of heart disease was “only marginally lower” at the age of 75.

While it was “no lower” at ages 80-85.

These findings suggest that increasing physical activity at the age of 70 “might have the most impact”.

Study authors also found a positive link between the time spent being active and the risk reduction in heart disease and failure.

People who exercised between 20 and 40 minutes every day were less likely to suffer from the condition.

This association was strongest among men.

“These results suggest that public health policies should be targeted at promoting or beginning physical activity in mid-and early late life, given a probable greater effectiveness in reducing cardiovascular risks,” researchers commented.

They argued that the positive effect of daily exercise on reducing the risk of heart disease could be due to its ability to slow down the atherosclerosis process.

Physical activity, in fact, was associated with better blood pressure, glucose levels, and lipid profile.

“Even a small amount may confer beneficial effects in older people, but if undertaken early rather than late,” they concluded.

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