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Physical activity is a good natural remedy for heart health as you age

Harold Mandel's picture
Staying in shape

According to new research there is an association between just moderate physical activity and a greater than 50 percent decrease in cardiovascular death in people over 65 years old.


There are great concerns about the increased risk for death from cardiovascular disease as people age. A good natural remedy for heart health as you age is physical activity.

There is decreased cardiovascular death with moderate physical activity

The European Society of Cardiology reports that moderate physical activity is associated with a 50 percent decrease in cardiovascular death in people who are over 65 years old. The risk of an acute cardiovascular event has been decreased by greater than 30 percent with moderate physical activity in people between 65 and 74 years old. Greater decreases in risk have been observed with high physical activity.

Professor Riitta Antikainen, who is a professor of geriatrics at the University of Oulu, Finland, says that it has been well established that physical activity prevents cardiovascular disease in people who are of working age. However there has not been much known about what effects regular physical activity have on cardiovascular disease in older people.

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In this study the researchers classified low physical activity as reading, watching TV or working in the house with just a little physical activity. Moderate physical activity was classified as walking or riding a bike and other types of light exercise such as fishing and gardening for a minimum of four hours a week. High physical activity was considered running, jogging, swimming, skiing, gymnastics, and ball games or intense training or sports competitions for a minimum of three hours a week.

There is a dose dependent relationship between physical activity and lower risk for cardiovascular disease

There was a 31 percent and a 45 percent lower risk of an acute cardiovascular event in people with moderate and high leisure time physical activity. In people with moderate and high leisure time physical activity there was a 54 percent and 66 percent lower cardiovascular mortality. Professor Antikainen said this study offers more evidence that older people who are physically active have a decreased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease. There is a dose dependent protective effect of leisure time physical activity.

The same factors which have been found to be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in people who are middle aged are relevant in elderly people reports Medscape. There has been a growing body of evidence which shows that risk factor modification in elderly people decreases cardiovascular risk as effectively as it does in middle-aged people. Cardiovascular disease is a very serious concern in elderly people because of the increased number of people who have been living past 65 years.

There are more people affected by cardiovascular disease during their life span than by any other lethal disease which has been studied. There is a good potential to lower cardiovascular events with risk factor interventions. Although as people age physical exercise may become more challenging it is nevertheless vitally important to encourage the elderly to stay physically active. Physical activity serves as a tremendous natural remedy for the health of your heart.