Physical Activity and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke in Older Adults
Even late in life, moderate physical activity such as walking and gardening is linked to lower incidence of heart attacks and stroke.
Soares-Miranda, Luisa et al. (2015). Physical Activity and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke in Older Adults: The Cardiovascular Health Study. Circulation. Published ahead of print. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.018323
While guidelines suggest that older adults engage in regular physical activity (PA) to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD), surprisingly few studies have evaluated this relationship, especially in those older than 75 years. Additionally, with advancing age the ability to perform some types of PA might decrease, making light-moderate exercise such as walking especially important to meet recommendations.
- After adjustment for other risk factors and lifestyle behaviors, those who were more active had significantly lower risk of future heart attacks and stroke.
- Adults who walked at a pace faster than three miles per hour (mph) had a 50%, 53%, 50% lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and total CVD, respectively, compared to those who walked at a pace of less than two mph.
- Those who walked an average of seven blocks per day or more had a 36%, 54% and 47% lower risk of CHD, stroke and total CVD, respectively, compared to those who walked up to five blocks per week.
- Those who engaged in leisure activities such as lawn-mowing, raking, gardening, swimming, biking and hiking, also had a lower risk of CHD, stroke and total CVD, compared to those who did not engage in leisure-time activities.
- The findings were similar in both men and women, in those above or below age 75 at baseline, and including only those with similarly good or excellent self-reported health.a