Inactivity is an unhealthy habit. And while many older Americans might feel like it's too late to change their lifestyle, a recent study presented at the EuroPRevent Congress 2014 should provide some encouragement to improve senior wellness.
According to the study, starting endurance training after 40 was shown to benefit heart health. David Matelot, from the Inserm 1099 unit and one of the authors of the study, said that "despite biological changes with age, the heart still seems – even at the age of 40 – amenable to modification by endurance training. Starting at the age of 40 does not seem to impair the cardiac benefits."
Matelot noted that as endurance training is also beneficial for bone density, muscle mass and oxidative stress, it's even more important that older Americans get more of it. Essentially, the study revealed that the cardiac benefits of endurance exercise are comparable later in life to the benefits of this exercise early in life.
"But it's never too late to change your way of life and get more physically active," said Matelot. "This will always be beneficial for the heart and well-being. And there's no need for a high level of training for many hours a week. Using the stairs rather than the elevator, or gardening regularly, can also be beneficial."
Dangers of inactivity for women 30 and up
Separate research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that physical inactivity comes with an increased risk of heart disease for women who are 30 and older.
The top four risk factors for developing heart disease are excess weight, smoking, high blood pressure and physical inactivity. They account for half the global prevalence of heart disease, which is also the leading cause of death in high-income countries.
The researchers estimated that if every woman from 30 to 90 was able to meet the recommended weekly exercise goal of 150 minutes at moderate intensity, deaths associated with heart disease would be reduced significantly.
"Our data suggest that national programs for the promotion and maintenance of physical activity, across the adult lifespan, but especially in young adulthood, deserve to be a much higher public health priority for women than they are now," the study said.
Americans are encouraged to work endurance training and other exercise practices into their weekly routine.
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