Heart health benefits may increase for older people who walk a little faster, and for a few extra blocks, according to a new study.
In the study – published November 19 in the journal Circulation – the researchers found that the risk of seniors who walked faster than three miles per hour (4.83 kilometres per hour) to have a heart disease was 50 percent lower, compared with those who walked slower than 2 miles per hour (3.22 kilometres per hour).
Moreover, the study findings also showed that people who walked an average of seven blocks per day, were 47 less likely to have a heart disease, than people who walked less than five blocks per week.
Luisa Soares-Miranda, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral student at the University of Porto in Portugal, said that moderate physical activity (like walking) is linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease, even in older adults.
For the study, the researchers looked at about 4,200 women and men that took part in the Cardiovascular Health Study – which was conducted by the National Institute of Health. The study collected data on risk factors linked to heart disease in people ages 65 or older.
Researchers analysed ten years of data for the new study. Each year, the average walking pace of the participants was assessed, and any heart attacks or stoker (or other cardiovascular events) were noted.
The findings showed that older adults who were sedentary had a higher risk of stroke or heart attacks, compared with those who led a more active life. Besides walking, activities such as swimming, gardening, biking, and hiking were also linked to lower risk of heart disease.
A previous study also found that walking for two minutes each hour may reduce the risk of dying prematurely. Another 2014 study found that running as little as five to ten minutes per day may lower the risk of heart disease.
Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, the dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston said that although many studies have looked at the link between heart health and physical activity, few of them have focused on older adults.
The new findings prove that light to moderate exercises are very important to improve health, no matter the person’s age, Dr. Mozaffarian added.
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