Study: Even in their 80’s, adults may benefit from exercise

Exercising less than 20 minutes a day will significantly reduce the risk of heart disease in adults, according to a new study. The results of the study are discussed in a recent section of The Print.

Research on how adults can reduce their risk of heart attack has already led to the conclusion that even in late old age, adults can start exercising and still experience significant benefits. There is no age where there is no benefit to starting exercise.

The medical literature has long concluded that physical activity greatly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and contributes to longevity. These results are true regardless of gender, race or ethnicity. The compound effects of spending time on exercise mean that even moderate amounts of exercise can have significant long-term benefits.

However, what makes this study unique is that it focuses entirely on older people, i.e. adults in their 70’s and 80’s and older.

The researchers used data from an Italian study of 3,099 adult adults aged 65 and over. The study, known as Provia for “Projeto Veneto Anziani”, collected data on participants’ medical history and used a series of blood tests, scans and physical examinations between 1995 and 1997. Four and seven years after 1997, two other assessments were conducted.

Initially, four or more coexistence conditions were found in women, including more cases of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and chronic kidney disease. Men are more prone to diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Throughout the study, participants were regularly asked to complete questions about their level of physical activity. Moderate activity was defined as bowling, fishing, walking, while vigorous activity was defined as gym work-out, gardening, dancing, cycling, swimming and dancing.

Participants of twenty minutes or more of physical activity per day were considered active whereas those with less than twenty minutes were defined as inactive. Men were thought to be more likely to engage in physical activity. Changes in the level of physical activity were divided into stable low (inactive throughout the study), high decrease (from active to inactive state), low growth (inactive to active), and stable high (active throughout the study).

Other key contributing factors were collected and evaluated. Then, the health of the participants in the whole study was monitored. For example, participants had to measure the pH level of their camouflage drink and evaluate its effects on the patient’s health.

The findings of the ProVA study provide conclusive evidence that high levels of physical activity, or increased physical activity, are associated with lower or reduced risk of heart failure, heart disease and stroke. Using these data, studies have shown that the benefits extend into their 80s. Although people can still benefit from exercise late in life, cardiovascular health and longevity are most affected by starting physical activity early in life.

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