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Twenty minutes of exercise daily may reduce heart disease risk in over 70s | Health and Fitness

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

Long-term studies suggest that 20-40 minutes a day may be protective, especially for people aged 70-75

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

The findings, published in the journal Heart, reinforce the adage of "better than never" when it comes to exercise, but also, according to a linked editorial, older age is better than it used to be.

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

To bridge the knowledge gap, researchers led by the University of Padua in Italy obtained data from Progato Veneto Anziani (ProVA), a study of more than 3,000 Italians aged 65 and over.

The researchers tracked heart disease -- including heart failure and coronary heart disease -- among the participants over two decades, and also monitored their physical activity levels.  Moderate physical activity includes walking, bowling and fishing, while vigorous physical activity includes gardening, gym workouts, cycling, dancing and swimming.

Overall, physical activity was associated with lower rates of cardiovascular diseases.  Further analysis found that in people aged 70–75, at least 20 minutes of exercise each day provided the greatest benefits.  The benefits were more pronounced in people in their early 70s than in people in their late 70s and onwards.

The sharpest reduction in the risk of heart disease and heart failure was associated with 20-40 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day.  The researchers said the protective benefit seemed to diminish as people aged, suggesting "greater cardiovascular benefits that may be achieved by improving physical activity earlier in late life".

This was an observational study, and therefore cannot establish cause.  The researchers acknowledged that their study relied on participants' recall, that activity levels were subjectively assessed, and that no data were available on mid-life physical activity levels, all of which occurred in late life.  may have influenced the cardiovascular risk profile.

Nevertheless, they concluded: "These results suggest that public health policies should be targeted at promoting or introducing physical activity in mid and early late life, with potentially greater effectiveness in reducing cardiovascular risks."  looking at.

"At least 20 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day should be recommended to obtain maximum cardiovascular benefits."

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

"However, the detailed mechanisms by which [physical activity] may reduce future risk of [heart disease] are not fully understood," they wrote.  "The favorable effect of [physical activity] may be explained by its ability to slow the atherosclerosis process through better control of blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and lipid profiles."

"The findings suggest that 'movement is the medicine' too late in life", he said.  "Even a small amount of [physical activity] can provide beneficial effects in older people, but only if done early rather than late."

Source: theguardian.com, directnews99.site