It’s important to start exercising early in life to reduce the risk of heart attack for later in life. Even the modest of activities could provide some sort of protection, researchers say.
When it comes to exercise and heart failure, the better-late-than-never phrase is particularly true, and even the smallest of boosts in activity can greatly improve your physical health, explained senior investigator Dr. Chiadi Ndumele in a John Hopkins University School of Medicine news release.
Researchers examined the health habits of roughly 11,000 American women and men in a 20-year government study on aging and heart disease. All participants were between the ages of 45 and 64, and none had had heart disease at the start of the study. The activity levels were analyzed on two consecutive visits over 6 years.
The people who met or exceeded recommended activity levels of about 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of strenuous exercise daily were 33 percent less likely to develop heart disease, the study discovered. Researchers also found that people who got consistent amounts of exercise per week— less than 149 minutes of moderate activity or less than 74 minutes of vigorous activity a week — had a 20 percent lower risk, the study revealed.
However the researchers also revealed that inactive people who began exercising to reach the recommended physical activity levels at some time during the study decreased their risk of heart failure by 22 percent. Inactive women and men who boosted their activity levels to about 30 minutes of walking four times a week decreased their risk by 12 percent.
About 5 million Americans and 23 million people worldwide have suffered from heart failure, the researchers said.
The study author Dr. Roberta Florido, a cardiology fellow at Hopkins, said in a news release, “Many people get discouraged if they don’t have the time or ability to exercise vigorously, but our findings demonstrate that every little bit of movement matters.”
“Picking up exercise later in life is decidedly better than not moving at all,” Florido concluded.
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