A new study suggests that light physical activity such as gardening or strolling in a park may reduce the risk of heart disease in older women. This study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).
The study was published in the journal JAMA Network Open on March 15, 2019.
The researchers have done a five-year prospective study. In this study, 5861 women participated from the different racial and ethnical groups. The participants of this study were enrolled from the year 2012 to 2014.
The age of all the participants was between 63 to 97 years. None of these women had any history of stroke or myocardial infarction (heart attack).
For this research, all the participants wore a hip-mounted accelerometer. This device which is much like a fitness tracker measured all their movements in 24 hours a day for a week. These accelerometers were adjusted by age to distinguish between the light, moderate and heavy physical activity.
The researchers monitored all the physical activities of the participants for five consecutive years to track all the heart-related diseases.
The result of this experiment suggested that any light physical activity can reduce the risk of heart-related diseases such as heart failure or stroke by 22 percent. The risk of sudden coronary death or heart attack can also be reduced by 42 percent.
David Goff, the director of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at NHLBI, said, “When we tell people to move with heart, we mean it, and the supporting evidence keeps growing. This study suggests that for older women, any and all movement counts towards better cardiovascular health.”
Andrea LaCroix, the study author and the director of the Women’s Health Center of Excellence at the University of California said, “The higher the amount of activity, the lower the risk, And the risk reduction showed regardless of the women’s overall health status, functional ability or even age. In other words, the association with light physical activity was apparent regardless of these other factors.”
Further on she added, “To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate light physical activity measured by accelerometer in relation to fatal and non-fatal coronary heart disease in older women. There was no correlation between the amount of self-reported light physical activity and the amount we measured with the accelerometers.”
According to the reports, the heart-related disease is one of the main cause of deaths among American women. About 85.6 million (8.56 crores) adults have at least one type of heart disease. Women aged 60 and older are suffering the most.
More research is needed to be done on the larger group to determine the result of an increase in light physical activity in older women and how it will affect the rate of heart diseases.