For seniors, any physical activity is better than none - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

For seniors, any physical activity is better than none

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(HealthDay News) -- Don't try saying you're too or too busy to exercise, especially after that calorie-laden Thanksgiving dinner.

Any level of physical activity can reduce seniors' risk of heart disease, researchers report.

The 18-year study included more than 24,000 adults ages 39 to 79.

They found a link between physical activity and reduced risk of heart disease in both elderly and middle-aged people.

"Elderly people who were moderately inactive had a 14 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular events compared to those who were completely inactive," said study first author and cardiologist Sangeeta Lachman.

"This suggests that even modest levels of physical activity are beneficial to heart health," said Lachman, who is with the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

No gym nearby? That's not a problem. Seniors should be encouraged to at least do low-intensity physical activities, such as walking, gardening, and housework, she said.

The study results were published Nov. 22 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

"Given our aging population and the impact of cardiovascular disease on society, a broader array of public health programs are needed to help elderly people engage in any physical activity of any level and avoid being completely sedentary," Lachman concluded in a journal news release.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide to physical activity.

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