Seniors should be aware that running and brisk walking are not the only ways to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Being “up and about”, performing daily activities such as housework and cooking, can have a significant impact on your cardiovascular health.
Women who move at least four hours per day have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease than women who move less than two hours a day. They also have a lower chance of suffering from stroke, 33% lower risk for having heart disease, and 30% lower chances of getting injured.
Reporting in the online issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association. A multi-institutional team led at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science, University of California San Diego examined the effect of daily movement on cardiovascular disease risk.
First author Steve Nguyen (M.P.H.), postdoctoral scholar at Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health, stated that the study shows that every movement counts in disease prevention. A lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease was found when people spent more time moving in their daily lives, which encompasses a variety of activities that we do on our feet.
Researchers used machine-learning algorithms to classify every minute of awake time into five different behaviors: sitting, sitting on a vehicle or standing still, daily movement, walking or running, and sitting, standing in a vehicle. Daily life movement refers to activities that occur when you are standing or walking in a room or patio.
Researchers measured the physical activity levels of almost 5,416 American women aged 63-97 as part of the Women’s Health Initiative Objective Physical Activity & Cardiovascular Health study. They were not suffering from any heart disease at the time of the study.
Participants were fitted with an accelerometer of research quality for seven days. This allowed them to measure how much time they spent moving, as well as the common everyday behaviors that lead to movement. Prior studies focused on the intensity and duration of activities such as running or brisk walking, while this study measured smaller movements during activities such as cooking.
Heart disease remains the leading cause for death in America, affecting both men and women. The highest rates are found in those 65 years old or older.
This study revealed that 616 women had been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. 268 were diagnosed with coronary heart disease. 253 suffered a stroke and 331 were deemed dead from the disease.
While much of the movement older adults engage in is related to daily tasks, it may not be considered exercise. Senior author Andrea LaCroix, Ph.D. M.P.H, is Distinguished Professor and Chief of the Division of Epidemiology, Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health.
John Bellettiere, Loki Natarajan (UC San Diego); Guangxing Wang, Chongzhi di, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Michael J. LaMonte (University at Buffalo – SUNY).