An hour of moderate exercise a day may decrease heart failure risk

Exercising each day can help keep the doctor away.

In a new study reported in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Heart Failure, researchers say more than an hour of moderate or half an hour of vigorous exercise per day may lower your risk of heart failure by 46 percent.

Exercising each day can help keep the doctor away.

Heart failure is a common, disabling disease that accounts for about 2 percent of total healthcare costs in industrialized countries. Risk of death within five years of diagnosis is 30 percent to 50 percent, researchers said.
Swedish researchers studied 39,805 people 20-90 years old who didn’t have heart failure when the study began in 1997. Researchers assessed their total- and leisure time activity at the beginning of the study and followed them to see how this was related to their subsequent risk of developing heart failure. They found that the more active a person, the lower their risk for heart failure.

They also found:
The group with the highest leisure time activity (more than one hour of moderate or half an hour of vigorous physical activity a day) had a 46 percent lower risk of developing heart failure.

Physical activity was equally beneficial for men and women.
Those who developed heart failure were older, male, had lower levels of education, a higher body mass index and waist-hip ratio, and a history of heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

“You do not need to run a marathon to gain the benefits of physical activity — even quite low levels of activity can give you positive effects,” said Kasper Andersen, M.D., Ph.D., study co-author and researcher at the Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden. “Physical activity lowers many heart disease risk factors, which in turn lowers the risk of developing heart failure as well as other heart diseases.”

Study participants completed questionnaires that included information about lifestyle, physical activity, smoking and alcohol habits, and medication use. Researchers looked at total physical activity, which included job-related activities, and leisure activities. Participants’ self-reported leisure physical activity was divided further into three categories: light, such as casual walking; moderate, such as jogging or swimming; and heavy, such as competitive sports. Diagnoses, hospitalizations and deaths were verified using participants’ medical records.

“The Western world promotes a sedentary lifestyle,” Andersen said. “There are often no healthy alternative forms of transportation; in many buildings it is hard to find the stairs; and at home television and computers encourage sedentary behavior.

“Making it easier and safer to walk, bicycle or take the stairs could make a big difference. Our research suggests that everyone could benefit from getting out there and moving every day.”

Although the relationship between heart failure and exercise has not been broadly studied, the study’s findings reaffirm the importance of continued physical activity for all adults and support the American Heart Association’s recommendations of 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity every week. For those who need to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol the association recommends 40 minutes 3-4 times per week.

In the United States, heart disease, a major risk factor for heart failure, remains the leading cause of death, claiming 380,000 lives every year. An estimated 5.7 million Americans have congestive heart failure and about half die within five years of their diagnosis.

Source: science daily

Older age women must exercise to reduce death risk: Study

Older age women must exercise to reduce death risk

The benefits of regular physical activity extends far beyond weight management as research shows that prescribing exercise as treatment to older women helps reduce the risk of death in them.

Loss of muscle mass in the body is inevitable with age, and one of the major causes of muscle loss is sedentary lifestyle. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, after the age of 50 seniors lose muscle mass at the rate of about half a pound per year, especially if they don’t exercise. Older people achieve significant health benefits from physical activity.

Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology, Australia, found that along with the conventional treatments for physical and mental health, moderate to high intensity tailored exercise program is needed to lower the risk of death in older women above the age of 50 years.

The study led by Professor Anderson and QUT’s Charlotte Seib, reviewed the five years of research that looked at the impact of exercise on the mental and physical health in women above the age of 50 years.

“Studies clearly show moderate to vigorous intensity activity can have mental and physical health benefits, particularly when part of broader positive health changes,” Professor Anderson said. “When once we thought that 30 minutes of mild exercise a day was enough to improve health, research is now telling us that older women should be doing at least 30-45 minutes five times a week of moderate to high intensity exercise and by that we mean exercise that leaves you huffing and puffing.”

The exercise program must be tailored to ensure that it is a high intensity activity needed to obtain the positive sustained effects of exercise.
The study clearly revealed that the high intensity exercise over a sedentary lifestyle significantly lowers the risk of death.

Older adults who adhere to regular physical activity also experience less disability, enhanced physical function irrespective of the body mass. The women who are most active are more likely to survive than those who are least physically active.

“We have an ageing population and as a result promoting healthy ageing has become an important strategy for reducing morbidity and mortality,” said Professor Anderson. “The research also linked exercise to improvements in mental well-being.” As high intensity exercise not just boosts physical health, but also brain health.

Researchers noticed that older women were capable of undertaking a range of activities that is beyond simple walking. The study highlights that mid-to-later in life women are seen jogging, running, hiking, swimming and riding.

Hence, the healthcare professionals should develop exercise programs that are home-based and easy to follow as part of everyday activities.

Source: science world report