Walking, gardening, housework: For senior citizens, any activity is better than none
New research suggests that even modest levels of physical activity are beneficial to heart health. Elderly people should be encouraged to at least do low intensity physical activities.fitness Updated: Nov 26, 2017 09:54 IST
Turns out, when it comes to keeping your heart healthy, a little physical activity goes a long way. Any physical activity in the elderly is better than none at all for reducing cardiovascular risk, according to an 18-year study in more than 24 000 adults.
First author Sangeeta Lachman from the Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands said, “Healthy adults are advised to do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.” She continued, “These recommendations are based primarily on research in middle-aged adults and we wanted to know whether regular physical activity yields comparable cardiovascular health benefits in elderly people.”
The study included 24 502 adults aged 39 to 79 years who participated in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) Norfolk cohort, a prospective population study that is part of the ten-country collaboration EPIC study. Lachman said that the 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. Elderly people should be encouraged to at least do low intensity physical activities such as walking, gardening, and housework.
She concluded: “Given our aging 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 study is published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
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