Further Evidence That Exercise Could Save Women From Heart Disease
In a new British study, the link between exercise and healthy hearts in women has been further investigated. Lead author, Miranda Armstrong, followed the health of over 1.1million British women who, between the years of 1996 and 2001, were 56 years old . Each of these women had no history of heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer. Through follow-ups with the women over an average period of nine years, moderate exercise was found to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke or blood clots by 20%.
Our very own Dr Chris Steele has always been a keen advocate of moderate exercise as shown in our recent video about the health benefits of walking.
Armstrong, a physical activity epidemiologist at Oxford University, believes that the key piece of information to take from the research is that to prevent problems such as heart disease, “women don’t have to be super athletes or strenuously exercise daily to experience the benefits of physical activity.” She says that very vigorous exercise routines offer “little additional benefit above that from moderately frequent activity” – a finding which should inspire women to adjust their lifestyles subtly for the sake of their health.
Other experts hope that the results of this study will be just the encouragement many women need to become a little more active. Dr Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease at New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital, says “we need to impress upon women that their commitment to move does not have to be that of an athlete or something that is overwhelming in her life.” Similarly, Dana Angelo White – assistant clinical professor of athletic training and sports medicine at Quinnipiac University – is eager to see this research become “good motivation for middle-aged women who are currently inactive to do something. Physical activity does not need to be complicated, time-consuming or involve expensive equipment.”
Armstrong distinguishes activities such as walking and cycling as being moderate exercise; as long as it increases the heartrate and causes a little sweat, it will have a positive impact on the heart. Even gardening was named as a useful activity in the battle against heart disease, showing that it may only take a relatively relaxing pastime to save women from future problems. Armstrong’s research certainly highlights that working towards a healthier heart doesn’t have to be too challenging.