Seniors who take part in moderate to high intensity exercise benefit from more than a 30% reduction in their risk of experiencing an acute cardiovascular event, and the more exercise they do, the more protected they are according to new findings from the University of Oulu, Finland.
The research, which was presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2016 currently taking place in Rome, Italy, looked at a possible association between physical activity and cardiovascular (CVD) risk and mortality in 2,456 adults aged 65 to 74 years over a 12-year period.
Participants were all enrolled into the National FINRISK Study – a large Finnish population survey on risk factors for chronic, noncommunicable diseases – between 1997 and 2007 and were followed up until the end of 2013.
The team collected data on physical activity levels and other health-related behaviour and took measurements such as blood pressure, weight, height and cholesterol levels.
Levels of physical activity were classified into three different groups. Low physical activity included reading, watching TV or household chores; moderate included walking, cycling or light exercise such as fishing or gardening for at least four hours per week; and high included sports such as jogging, gymnastics, swimming, ball games or heavy gardening or intense training for at least three hours a week.
After taking into account factors that might affect the risk of cardiovascular disease, including health factors such as blood pressure, smoking status and cholesterol and social factors such as marital status, the team found that both a moderate and high level of physical activity were associated with a reduced risk of CVD incidence and CVD mortality, with moderate exercise reducing the risk of an acute CVD event by 31% and death from CVD by 54%, and a high level of exercise reducing the risk of an event by 45% and death by 66%.
Professor Riitta Antikainen, professor of geriatrics at the University of Oulu, Finland, also commented that not only was the protective effect of exercise on the risk of CVD incidence and death dose dependent, meaning the more adults did the more protected they were, but this protective effect was also seen even if adults had other risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol, leading Professor Antikainen to conclude that, "Physical exercise may become more challenging with ageing. However, it is important for older people to still get enough safe physical activity to stay healthy after their transition to retirement." – AFP Relaxnews