Moderate physical activity can improve over-65's heart health

23 November 2017 09:08

Cardiovascular events include heart failure and strokes

Cardiovascular events include heart failure and strokes

Older people who partake in even light exercise can see their risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke significantly reduced, a study has found.

According to new research, moderate activity among over 65s can reduce the chance of a cardiovascular event by 14%, compared with older individuals who are completely inactive.

Cardiovascular events include heart failure, strokes, heart attacks and angina.

"We know that regular physical activity has major health benefits," said lead author Dr Sangeeta Lachman from the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

She continued: "Elderly people who were moderately inactive had a 14% reduced risk of cardiovascular events compared to those who were completely inactive. This suggests that even modest levels of physical activity are beneficial to heart health."

Large-scale study

The study tracked activity levels and health of more than 24,000 adults from Norfolk, over a period of two decades.

Researchers recruited participants from GP practices in the East Anglian county between 1993 and 1997.

Their activity levels were recorded and analysed, and those involved in the study were categorised at as active, moderately active, moderately inactive or inactive.

Study outcomes

The research team followed up with the participants after a median period of 18 years, and determined there to have been 5,240 cardiovascular events during the period.

The data suggests that older people who engage in any physical activity have a reduced cardiovascular health risk, and the report authors are prompting over 65s to up their activity levels.

"Elderly people should be encouraged to at least do low intensity physical activities such as walking, gardening, and housework," they added.

"Given our ageing population and the impact of cardiovascular disease on society, a broader array of public health programmes are needed to help elderly people engage in any physical activity of any level and avoid being completely sedentary."

The research and outcomes has been published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

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