From the study, researchers concluded that older adults who walk 3 miles per hour or faster had a 50% less risk of heart disease than those who walked at a pace of 2 miles per hour or less.
Additionally, according to the study published on November 19 in the journal Circulation, older adults who walked an average of seven blocks each day had a 47% less risk of heart disease than those who walked five or less blocks each week.
Lead author of the study and a postdoctoral student at the University of Porto in Portugal, Luisa Soares-Miranda, said in a statement that their study of older Americans illustrates that, even later in life; medium physical activity such as walking is connected to lower incidence of heart disease. Luckily, walking is an exercise that a lot of older adults enjoy.
For the study, researchers looked at 4,207 women and men enrolled in the Cardiovascular Health Study, an on-going study done by the National Institutes of Health that is gathering data on the risk factors for heart disease in adults aged 65 and older. For the new results, researchers studied 10 years of data that was collected when the women and men came in for their annual physical exams. At the annual visits, the subjects’ average walking distance and pace were examined, and the researchers took note of any cardiovascular events that happened, such as stroke or heart attack.
Walking was not the only exercise linked with lower risk of heart disease.
Yes, older adults who were more active overall also had less risk of heart disease than those who were more sedentary, according to the study. In addition, leisure activities – including biking, hiking, swimming and gardening – were also linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
This is definitely not the first study to connect simple activities such as walked to improved health. Earlier this year, researchers found that simply walking for 2 minutes each hour could decrease an individual’s risk of dying prematurely.
And for those who enjoy increasing the intensity, a study from 2014 discovered that running for as little as 5 to 10 minutes each day was linked to less risk of death from heart disease.
However, while a lot of studies have observed the connection between physical activity and heart health, few have concentrated on older adults which are a swiftly growing group.
These findings support the importance of continuing moderate or even light exercise to improve health over the life span.