The researchers followed 5,416 women aged 63 to 97 and had them wear a research-grade accelerometer for up to seven days to measure how long they were active. The researchers also kept tabs on what the women were doing as they went about their daily activities. This included tracking tasks like washing dishes, gardening, cooking, and showering.
During the study period, 616 women were diagnosed with heart disease and 268 with coronary artery disease. The researchers also found that 253 people had had a stroke and 331 had died of cardiovascular disease. But the risk of heart problems was much lower for active participants. Women who moved at least four hours a day had a 43% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, a 43% lower risk of coronary heart disease, a 30% lower risk of stroke, and a risk of dying from heart disease. 62% lower heart disease. those who traveled less than two hours a day.
While previous research has looked at the impact of movements like walking and running on heart health, this study specifically looked at any kind of movement.
“All movement is good for the heart. —Jennifer Wong, MD,
The study’s lead author, Steve Nguyen, PhD, MPH, a postdoctoral fellow at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health at the University of California, San Diego, said he and his colleagues wanted to examine the impact of overall activity on heart heat, because the current guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “primarily focus on higher-intensity activities such as exercise” that are not feasible for everyone, including older adults.
“Understanding the extent to which daily activities can prevent chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease can help modify these physical activity recommendations to be more inclusive and motivating” for people who are not interested or able to do more intense exercises, says Dr. Nguyen.
Can Something As Simple As Chores Improve Your Heart Health
“Our hearts – and the rest of the cardiovascular system – respond to movement regardless of the source of the movement, whether it’s walking for exercise or during the movements of daily life,” says Dr Nguyen. . This causes your muscles to activate and burn more calories, as well as changes in heart rate and improvements in blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, he says. And, he points out, all of these factors can contribute to your heart health, he says.
In general, “any physical activity can improve cardiovascular outcomes,” says Jennifer Wong, MDcardiologist and medical director of noninvasive cardiology at MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.
If you have to choose between household chores, Dr. Nguyen recommends opting for things like heavy gardening and light housework (think: vacuuming, folding laundry, cooking, and dusting). His study found these to be the best bang for your cardiovascular buck. “However, the best activity for an individual to increase daily movement may depend on their situation and preferences,” he says. “Any movement will be beneficial over no movement.”
In a perfect world, Dr. Wong says you’d meet the 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise recommended by the US Department of Health and Human Services, while still being active in your daily life. However, if you are not physically able to exercise regularly but you can being active throughout your day, she says, can help too. “All movement is good for your heart,” says Dr. Wong.
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