A new observational study provides some answers. The good news is that it doesn’t take very much. Let’s explore this new Italian study.
Exercise and heart health: Study design
Researchers collected data on nearly 3,100 seniors who participated in a mid-1990s research study. The study participants answered questions about physical activity with each assessment.
Moderate activities included activities such as bowling, fishing, and walking. Vigorous physical activities included cycling, dancing, swimming, gym workouts, gardening, and similar endeavors.
The study authors defined those who did a minimum of 20 minutes of physical activity as active and those who did less as inactive. They also analyzed co-variables such as education, income, alcohol consumption, and smoking. Researchers also analyzed the subjects’ health by analyzing hospital records and death certificates through the end of 2018.
Exercise and heart health: Study results
Here are the study results:
- Those who got between 20 and 40 minutes daily of moderate-intensity or vigorous activity had fewer cardiovascular problems (including heart attacks) and a lower risk of premature death than the physically inactive.
- There was a halving of the chances of experiencing cardiovascular disease among men compared with the physically inactive.
- The greatest benefits appeared among men ages 70 to 75.
We must take the study with a grain of salt, as it has an observational design. Still, the study results align with many others showing the benefits of avoiding being sedentary.
Move, and you help to protect your body and brain. Physical activity is associated with a lower probability of experiencing cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. In addition, movement is linked with a lower chance of premature death.
In conclusion, getting at least 20 minutes daily of physical activity early in late life seems to provide the greatest cardiovascular benefits.