Sunday, August 28, 2016 9:39 pm
The dramatic discovery from a study conducted over nearly two decades was revealed at the world’s biggest heart conference, reports the Sunday People.
Dramatic discovery from a study conducted over nearly two decades was revealed at the world’s biggest heart conference. Older people who walk or garden for just half an hour a day can slash their risk of dying by half.
Experts hailed the findings as proof that even light exercise can “add years onto our lives”, adding that it is “never too late to start”.
Researchers, according to a report by London Mirror, followed 2,500 men and women aged between 65 and 74 for 16 years.
They found those who did just four hours of moderate exercise a week – which equates to 34 minutes a day – saw huge benefits.
Their overall risk of cardiovascular death – for instance dying from a heart attack , stroke or heart disease – dropped by 54%.
Moderate physical activity included simply taking a stroll, cycling or other forms of light exercise like fishing or gardening.
High levels of physical activity led to an even greater reduction in risk, according to the study by US and Finnish experts.
Professor Riitta Antikainen, who led the research, said: “Our study provides further evidence that older adults who are physically active have a lower risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease.
“The protective effect of leisure time physical activity is dose dependent – in other words, the more you do, the better.”
And she stressed millions of older people could still improve their chances of a longer life even if they had have multiple conditions, adding: “Activity is protective even if you have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol.”
The major research was carried out by the University of Oulu in Oulu, Finland, and Florida International University, in Miami, US.
In total, 2,456 men and women aged between 65 and 74 were enrolled into the study which began in 1997. The group was followed for 16 years until the end of 2013.
Overall, 197 people died diet from a heart-related condition and 416 had their first cardiovascular “event” like a heart attack.
Researchers found that moderate physical activity was associated with a 31% reduced risk of a cardiovascular “event” and a 54% reduced risk of dying from a heart-related issue.
High physical activity slashed the risk of a cardiovascular “event” by 45% and cut the risk of death by 66%.
High level of exercise was classed as three hours a week of recreational sports. For example, running, jogging, skiing, gymnastics, swimming, ballgames or intense training.
British experts hailed the findings.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK, said the study was a “really strong body of research” which “demonstrates the importance of physical activity in later life”.
She added: “Even small amounts of physical activity can make a difference to a person’s health and can lower the risk of serious conditions such as heart disease, strokes, and certain cancers.
“Not only does exercise add years onto our lives, it can improve your mood and help maintain independence.
“The important thing to remember is it’s never too late to start, even increasing your daily physical activity by a small amount will benefit you at any age.”
And Emily Reeve, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, added: “This study highlights the importance of physical activity at any age, including the elderly.”
“In order to keep their heart healthy and improve general health, older adults need to keep active.”
She added: “Older people should also try to break up long periods of sitting with light activity, as we know that sedentary behaviour is now considered an independent risk factor for ill health.”
Professor Antikainen, professor of geriatrics at the University of Oulu, said that although the effects of exercise on your risk of developing heart conditions was “well established”, until now “relatively little” had been known about how those affected can slash their risk of dying.
She added that despite the difficulties those who have retired might have in exercising enough, it was “important” to stay active in order to reduce your risk of dying.
She said: “Physical exercise may become more challenging with ageing. However, it is important for older people to still get enough safe physical activity to stay healthy after their transition to retirement.”
More than 32,000 cardiovascular doctors, nurses and researchers from 120 countries are attending the European Society of Cardiology annual congress in Rome, Italy.
It is the world’s biggest gathering of heart professionals, and they will spend this week discussing and debating the latest clinical trials and breakthrough discoveries.
Speaking in Rome, Professor Massimo Piepoli, chair of the ESC congress, said: “There is no upper age limit to when you can start benefiting from exercise.”
Credit: London Mirror. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/scientists-discovered-two-simple-things-8719397