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Harvard study supports that physical activity of older people decreases risk of cardiovascular disease

25/05/2012
Harvard study supports that physical activity of older people decreases risk of cardiovascular disease © Matias Rothkopf

A study that fills the knowledge gap of the relationship between physical activity and cardiovascular disease amongst the elderly was presented recently at the American Heart Association’s EPI | NPAM 2012 conference in San Diego by a group of international researchers working at the Harvard School of Public Health.

The research focuses particularly on septuagenarians, and it fills a knowledge gap about the relationship between activity and cardiovascular disease amongst the elderly.

While it is known that physical activity is associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, there are fewer studies about individuals over 65 years, and this is the first one to be conducted amongst 75 years old.

The analysis focused on variables such as distance walked per week, walking speed, intensity of physical activity, and concluded that walking is particularly associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. 

These results are increasingly important in a context where the number of senior citizens will increase exponentially in the coming years. It is expected that, according to WHO, the number of older people will triple from year 2000 to 2050. It is therefore essential, not only at the individual level, but for the whole of society, to make sure that ageing becomes as healthy as possible, by preserving the functional capacity of elderly people. Studies like the one undertaken by the Harvard School of Public Health group of researchers will help to pave the road to healthy ageing.