A new study has shown that people over 70 years old who started a moderate exercise program didn’t lower the odds of having a heart attack or stroke. Dr. Anne B. Newman, the lead author of the study and the director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Aging and Population health, had hoped to see a positive result for reduced heart disease since the study had shown to improve mobility.
Sixteen-hundred people, aged 70 to 89 years old, were randomly assigned to physical activity program or a successful aging educational program. The physical activity group aimed for 150 minutes of walking each week, plus strength, balance, and flexibility training. The educational group attended weekly workshops for 26 weeks and monthly sessions thereafter, but did not have an exercise component. All participants self-reported any history of heart attack, heart failure, or stroke and had health assessments every six months for about two and a half years.
The difference of who suffered from a cardiovascular event between the two groups was minuscule.
Other studies on cardiac rehab have shown that recurrent heart attacks are prevented with exercise. So why didn’t it work for the people over 70 years old? There is a lot that goes into having and keeping a healthy heart. Dr. Newman has a few ideas as to why.
- Exercise Needs to Start Earlier in Life
- Moderate Exercise Isn’t Enough
- Recognize the Situation
Dr. Newman said that in order to prevent heart disease, exercise needs to start earlier in life. The ability to exercise starts to decline when people reach their 40’s, so exercise should be a regular activity throughout your 20’s and 30’s. While you won’t be able to do the types of workouts you did when you were in your 20’s, you should be continuously exercising throughout your entire life. The more you exercise when you’re young, the easier it will be to keep those muscles strong for when you get older.
Dr. Newman stated that it’s possible that more exercise was needed than what was provided in the study. Studies have shown that 30 minutes of daily exercise should be enough to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Dr. Newman stated that it’s important to know that this study was done with frail older adults who were at high risk for disability. Many people had family history of heart disease making it more likely for them to suffer from a cardiovascular event.
All of these factors had an effect on the study. Even the results were negative, it doesn’t mean you should stop exercising because it does help with mobility. Daily exercise, not smoking, and following a healthy diet can all help reduce your risk of heart disease.
If you are nearing or already 65 and would like more information on Medicare Plans in Washington State, please visit our Overview of Medicare, as well as our guide for those who are New to Medicare. For assistance in choosing a Medicare plan, contact us to get in touch with a licensed insurance agent today!