Even a moderate increase in exercise when you are in your fifties can help your heart health according to a study published today by researchers from University College London Epidemiology and Public Health uni.
The study shows inflammation in the body – which is thought to contribute to heart disease – remains lower in people in the transition to retirement who embrace an active lifestyle, with at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate physical activity (enough to raise your heart rate), than in those who stay less active. This is great news for retirees, who often celebrate their new-found freedom with a whole range of activities, from gardening to DIY to countryside walks.
In the study, over 4,000 people from the Whitehall II cohort were quizzed on their exercise routines and had levels of inflammation measured to gauge their heart health over a ten year period.
Says Dr Mark Hamer, UCL Epidemiology and Public Health, ''Previous studies looking at how exercise protects the heart have only been carried out for short periods of time. Our ten year study reveals for the first time the long-term effects of leading an active lifestyle on inflammation and heart disease.
''It's great news that people who spring into retirement and become more active are actually making a big difference in helping their hearts grow old healthily.''
British Heart Foundation senior cardiac nurse Maureen Talbot says, ''Donning your gardening gloves, or picking up a paint brush, can still go a long way to help look after your heart health, as exercise can have a big impact on how well your heart ages.