Senior women who do light physical activities have less chance of heart disease, study shows
Walking, gardening, and doing the laundry may just be saving you from a heart attack

Exercising is an essential part of one’s lifestyle and daily routine. Whether it’s a tough two-hour workout in the gym, a relaxing 3-kilometer jog in the morning, doing a little exercise is key to better living. And now research has found that the amount of time doing activities of low intensity is tied to lower risks of heart disease in senior women.

Researchers found women who did low intensity activities daily were 42% less likely to die from any heart disease or suffer heart attacks. The study, published in in JAMA Network Open, involved nearly 6,000 women with an average age of 79 which also showed that every extra hour of light activity daily cut women’s risk even further.

Andrea LaCroix, director of the Women’s Health Center of Excellence at the University of California and senior author of the study, said that 150 minutes of moderate and vigorous physical activity weekly is best recommended. “Everything we do, even lower intensity physical activities, looks beneficial to the heart,” said LaCroix.

The most active women in the study spent 5.6 hours daily doing light activity, while the least active spent 3.9 hours doing something other than sitting or lying down. During nearly four years of following-up, 143 new heart attacks and deaths from heart disease and 570 cases of cardiovascular disease were recorded.

LaCroix said that, ” One of the study’s strong points is the women’s activity levels were measured by accelerometer [measures activity intensity]. Because women don’t keep track of the time they spend engaged in everyday activities such as doing the laundry, they tend to underestimate how much they are moving around.”

Another Women’s Health Center director Dr. Elsa Giardina, from the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, calls the study “very important” as it shows that women can lower their risk of heart disease simply by spending less time sitting. “The takeaway message is that low intensity physical activity can be a really pleasant and inexpensive way to reduce cardiovascular disease risk in older people,” said Giardina.

Story from Reuters

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