They say you’re old when you reach the age of 67.2 years. This was according to the CIA Fact Book, in 2010. With improved medical facilities and more conducive living conditions, an increasing number of people are living beyond the limit of life expectancy. However, the possibility of acquiring diseases related to one’s lifestyle also increase. Diseases such cancer, arthritis, diabetes, or mental illness becomes more prevalent.
Keeping an active lifestyle reduces the possibility of heart attack and coronary related deaths in the elderly. Every minute of physical activity counts in avoiding these diseases especially to those who have limited mobility, according to a study.
‘Reducing time spent being sedentary even by engaging in low-intensity activities could have important cardiovascular benefits for older adults with mobility limitations,’ said senior author of the study Thomas Buford from the University of Florida Institute on Aging in Gainesville, Florida.
In order to make the study, the researchers took measurement of movements using accelerometers in 1,170 people aged 74-84 at eight centers all over the US who suffered from physical limitations but could walk 400 meters. Factors such as age, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure were used in calculating participants’ possibility of getting a heart attack or coronary death within 10 years.
For those participants who remain sedentary for 25-30 minutes a day, the predicted risk was one percent higher. Physical exertions such as walking at slow speed, or engaging in light house chores, was linked to an increase in higher HDL or high-density lipoprotein (‘good’) cholesterol levels with people who have no history of the disease. Participants spent an average of an hour or less walking or doing other physical activities.
Normally, most physical activity guidelines recommend that adults should spend more time in high energy exercises to improve or maintain health. However it may not be compatible for older people who live sedentary lives or with limited movement, researchers said.
‘Encouraging individuals to just reduce the amount of time they spend being sedentary may have important cardiovascular benefits,’ Buford noted. The study appeared in the Journal of the American Heart Association