Twenty minutes of daily exercise may cut heart disease risk in over-70s

Twenty minutes of daily moderate to vigorous exercise for people over 70 may help prevent heart disease and heart failure later in life, long-term research suggests.

The findings, published in the journal Heart, reinforce the “better late than never” maxim when it comes to exercise, but also show that the earlier in old age, the better, according to a linked editorial.

It is well known that physical activity is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and longer life, regardless of gender and ethnicity. But until now, relatively few studies have looked exclusively at whether exercise in old age can help stave off heart problems in old age.

To close the knowledge gap, researchers led by the University of Padua in Italy drew on data from the Progetto Veneto Anziani (ProVA), a study of more than 3,000 Italians aged 65 and older.

The researchers tracked heart disease, including heart failure and coronary artery disease, among the participants for two decades, and also monitored their physical activity levels. Moderate physical activity included walking, bowling, and fishing, while vigorous physical activity included gardening, working out at the gym, bicycling, dancing, and swimming.

Overall, physical activity was associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease. Further analysis found that at least 20 minutes of exercise every day among people ages 70 to 75 seemed to provide the greatest benefits. The benefits were more apparent in people in their 70s compared to those in their 70s and older.

The greatest reduction in the risk of heart disease and heart failure was associated with a period of 20 to 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day. The protective benefit appeared to decline as people aged, “suggesting that greater cardiovascular benefits might be achieved by improving physical activity earlier in life,” the researchers said.

  Madhya Pradesh: NHRC to review condition of Gwalior mental hospital | Bhopal News - Times of India

This was an observational study, so cannot establish cause. The researchers acknowledged that their study relied on participants’ recall, that activity levels were subjectively assessed, and that data on midlife physical activity levels were not available, all of which could have influenced activity profiles. cardiovascular risk in old age.

However, they concluded: “These results suggest that public health policies should be aimed at promoting or initiating physical activity in middle and late life, given its probable greater effectiveness in reducing cardiovascular risks.

“At least 20 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day should be recommended to achieve the greatest cardiovascular benefits.”

In a linked editorial, the academics said the study showed “movement is medicine.” Dr. Enrico Fabris and Dr. Gianfranco Sinagra, from the University of Trieste, explained that physical activity helped improve arterial blood flow and could reduce its stickiness and the formation of blood clots.

“However, the detailed mechanisms by which [physical activity] can reduce future risk of [cardiovascular disease] they still don’t fully understand each other,” they wrote. “The favorable effect of [physical activity] it can simply be explained by its ability to slow down the process of atherosclerosis through better control of blood pressure, blood glucose level and lipid profile.”

The findings show “that ‘movement is medicine’ also in old age,” they said. “Even a small amount of [physical activity] it can confer beneficial effects in older people, but if done early rather than late.”

Leave a Comment