Home MedicalNewsToday.com Exercise After The Age Of 60 May Prevent Heart Disease, Stroke

Exercise After The Age Of 60 May Prevent Heart Disease, Stroke

In 2015, 900 million people, globally, were over the age of 60. By 2050, the World Health Organization (WHO) expect that number to reach 2 billion.

While it is common for people to become less active as age takes a toll on one’s physical capabilities, a study just published in the European Heart Journal finds that either maintaining levels of activity or becoming more active at this stage of life is important for reducing the risks of heart attack and stroke.

The researchers found that study participants who reduced their levels of exercise over time had a 27% greater likelihood of developing heart and blood vessel issues. Those who became more active reduced their risk by as much as 11%.

Studying physical activity in older age

The authors of the study — led by Kyuwoong Kim, of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, at Seoul National University, in South Korea — analyzed data from 1,119,925 men and women 60 years or older.

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The data had been collected by the National Health Insurance Service (NIHS), which provides healthcare to about 97% of South Korea’s population. The average age of participants was 67, and 47% were men.

The NIHS conducted two health checks of the individuals, one in 2009–2010 and one in 2011–2012. The researchers collected data about these participants until 2016.

During each check, the healthcare providers asked the participants about their levels of physical activity and their lifestyles.

The researchers defined moderate physical activity as 30 minutes or more per day of dancing, gardening, or brisk walking. Twenty minutes or more of running, fast cycling, or aerobic exercise daily counted as vigorous exercise.

In their second NIHS health check, the participants reported how their levels of activity had changed since the first checkup.

A majority of the participants, about two-thirds, were inactive at the times of both checks. About 78% of women were physically inactive at the first health check, and this figure at the second check was roughly the same, at 77%.

Men were less inactive both times: 67% at the first screening and 66% at the second.

Just 22% of the overall group had increased their levels of activity between checks, while 54% of participants who had been exercising regularly five or more times per week had become inactive by the time of the second screening.

The researchers also analyzed national heart disease- and stroke-related medical claims and hospital records from January 2013 to December 2016.

By the end of the study period, 114,856 cases of heart disease or stroke had been reported among the cohort. The researchers adjusted for factors such as socioeconomic status, age, gender, other medical conditions, and lifestyle details such as smoking and alcohol use.

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