To Your Health
April, 2019 (Vol. 13, Issue 04)
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Heart Health for Seniors: Get Moving

By Editorial Staff

Senior women, listen up: You don't need draining, high-intensity exercise to keep your heart in great shape. Light activity such as gardening and walking – or even movement in general – can also do the trick, cutting your risk of heart disease nearly in half.

That's according to a new study in JAMA Network Open that tracked nearly 6,000 older women (ages 63-99) for four years after baseline assessments to determine daily activity.

Each woman in the study wore a device called an accelerometer for one week that measured change in velocity – essentially not moving (sitting, lying down) vs. moving (standing up, walking, etc.). During the resulting four-year tracking period, women with the highest levels of baseline low-intensity activity were 42 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack or die from heart disease, and 22 percent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, compared to women with the lowest levels of low-intensity activity.

So, what's the lesson? When it comes to senior heart health, it's not just gardening or walking that can help; movement in general (as opposed to not moving) seems to do the trick. And while this particular study involved women only, it's reasonable to assume the same association (movement and heart health) applies to senior men as well.