Picking Up The Pace is a Good Thing for Older Adults

Julie Shenkman
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Walking a little faster could improve heart health in older adults, according to a new study. Researchers found that older people who walk faster than 3 miles per hour are less likely to develop heart disease than those who walk at 2 miles per hour or slower. Walking greater distances each day can also help to decrease the risk of heart disease, according to recent research.

A study published in the journal Circulation in November 2015 showed that adults who walk at least seven blocks per day have a 47 percent lower risk of developing heart disease than people who walk fewer than five blocks per week. Walking fast is correlated with even better heart health, while running for as little as 5 to 10 minutes daily can also reduce the risk of premature death.

The study involved 4,207 men and women aged 65 or older, who were assessed at annual physical exams over a period of 10 years. Researchers looked at various lifestyle factors of the participants, including their average walking speed and the distance they typically walked each day. They also noted any cardiovascular events that occurred during the study period, such as a heart attack or stroke.

The study showed a strong correlation between older adults' typical walking speed and their heart health. According to the study's lead author, Luisa Soares-Miranda, "moderate physical activity such as walking is linked to lower incidence of cardiovascular disease." Walking is an activity that most older adults can manage, even though more rigorous activities such as running could be difficult.

In addition, the study showed that other types of physical activity can also improve heart health. Gardening, swimming, cycling and hiking all reduce the risk of heart disease. Many studies agree that adults who are more active have better heart health than those who are sedentary. The new study is one of only a few that have focused on older adults, a rapidly growing group of people who are more likely to suffer from heart disease than younger adults.

Adults can improve their heart health by maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and taking statins if their LDL cholesterol levels are too high in addition to exercising regularly. The researchers involved in this latest study recommend that people stay active throughout their lives. Moderate physical activities such as walking are a good way for older people to improve their heart health without placing too much stress on their bodies.

The new study backs up previous findings by suggesting that physical activity improves the chance of living a long and healthy life. By walking daily at a brisk pace, people can improve their overall wellness while reducing their risk of developing heart disease.

Photo courtesy of tor00722 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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