Older women active a few times weekly lower risk of
heart disease, stroke, blood clot
Activities associated with reduced risk included
walking, gardening, and cycling
19, 2015 - Just a little exercise by older women is better than none, at
least when it comes to lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke and
blood clots. Being active just a few times a week is all it takes.
Researchers were surprised to find that more frequent physical activity
didn’t result in further reductions in risk.
In the study published in the American Heart
Association journal Circulation:
● Women who performed strenuous
physical activity— enough
to cause sweating or a faster heart beat — two to three times per week
were about 20 percent less likely to develop heart disease, strokes or
blood clots compared to participants who reported little or no activity.
● Among active women, there was little evidence
of further risk reductions with more frequent activity.
● Physical activities associated with reduced
risk included walking, gardening, and cycling.
“Inactive middle-aged women should try to do some
activity regularly,” said Miranda Armstrong, M.Phil., Ph.D., the study’s
lead author and a physical activity epidemiologist at the University of
Oxford in the United Kingdom.
“However, to prevent heart disease, stroke and
blood clots, our results suggest that women don’t need to do very
frequent activity as this seems to provide little additional benefit
above that from moderately frequent activity.”
Participants included 1.1 million women in the
United Kingdom with no history of cancer, heart disease, stroke, blood
clots, or diabetes who joined the Million Women study in 1996-2001.
Their average age when they joined the study was 56.
The women reported their level of physical activity
at the beginning of the study and three years later. Researchers then
examined hospital admissions and deaths in relation to participants’
responses. Follow-up was, on average, nine years.
Co-authors of the study are Jane Green, B.M.B.Ch.,
D.Phil.; Gillian K. Reeves, M.Sc., Ph.D.; Valerie Beral, D.B.E., A.C.,
F.R.S.; and Benjamin J. Cairns, Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the
The UK Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK
and the BHF Centre of Research Excellence in Oxford funded the study.