Fitness over 60: Increasing physical activity as you get older could lower your risk of heart disease

In a new study, researchers found that being physically fit from the age of 60 can reduce the risk of heart disease by 11 percent. In contrast, stopping regular exercise and exercise increases the likelihood of heart disease by 27 percent. So, the research shows that it’s never too late to start exercising to stay in good shape.

Heart-healthy with fitness from 60

fitness over 60 better heart health new study

So, according to the new research, getting older doesn’t give you a clue to exercise. Instead, scientists found that having a well-trained body reduced the risk of heart disease and stroke, even in the golden years. The study states that the level of activity required to achieve this benefit was about 1 hour of running per week.

"It is in line with studies on other treatment modalities that clearly show that it is never too late to make things better", agreed Dr. Michael Miyamoto, a cardiologist at the Mission Hospital in Southern California. "It is also in line with other exercise studies that suggest that those who later exercise will also get a clinical benefit from it."

Elderly man doing side abdominal crunches and fitness training for seniors

The researchers examined more than 1 million men and women ages 60 and older. All had received two consecutive health checks, first from 2009 to 2010 and then from 2011 to 2012. Each one was asked questions about their lifestyle and physical activity. The researchers calculated the number of moderate and vigorous exercise per week and the changes between health checks.

Being in the gym exercising and aging with low risk of heart disease

More than 20 percent of inactive seniors at the first examination had increased their physical activity by the second time. These people had an 11 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

"We were not surprised by our results as we expected the cardiovascular benefits of exercise in older adults." This was said by senior study author Kyuwoong Kim, a graduate student in the Biomedical Sciences Department of Seoul National University Graduate School.

Research quintessence

Elderly man walking in the park with headphones and mat

People aged 60 and over who did more sport reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease by 11 percent. In contrast, the risk for those who live sedentary increases by 27 percent, according to new research. Elderly people with disabilities or chronic diseases such as high blood pressure or diabetes also benefit from exercise. Experts say it is a good idea to speak to your doctor before you start exercising in order to find the best route for your age and fitness.

Learn more about the study here.