Reiterating the long-held view, a new study showed that even 20 minutes of walking or cycling may help men lower their risk of heart failure compared to those who are not making any effort to do any physical activity daily.
Researchers have examined 33,012 men from the Cohort of Swedish Men from 1998 until 2012 recording their first event of heart failure and found that it is linked directly to non-physical activity that led to heart failure. However, they also found that those with higher levels of physical activity too are prone to heart failure, especially those in football or marathon races.
In all, men who had the lowest and highest levels of physical activity face the risk of heart failure in 47% and 51% respectively. In fact, those with a median level are the benficiaries of walking or cycling daily for at least 20 minutes, they said in their study that was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Earlier studies have also shown that for the elderly people too walking or some physical activity for at least 20 minutes would help them from the effects of brain damage that can affect their movement and balancing abilities.
Many older people have small areas of damage in their brains seen on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as white matter hyperintensities and higher levels of such damage have been linked to more problems with movement such as difficulty walking.
Researchers have found that aged people who were physically active did not show any drop in their movement abilities even when they had high levels of brain damage, said a study by Debra A. Fleischman from the Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago.
Another interesting study said living in a a neighbourhood that encourages walking could help the elderly stave off cognitive decline, after study 25 people with mild Alzheimer’s disease and 39 adults with cognitive impairment.
Easy-to-walk communities result in better outcomes both for physical health – (such as lower body mass and blood pressure) – and cognition (such as better memory) in the elderly, said Amber Watts, assistant professor of clinical psychology at the University of Kansas in the US.
Among women, a new research has shown that engagement by post-menopausal women in 300 minutes (5 hours) of physical activity can save them from both breast cancer risk and obesity, altogether, which is double than the currently advised physical activity for women.
The physical activities were mainly elliptical trainer, bicycling, running and walking – but any aerobic activity that accelerated the heart rate 65-75 percent of the heart rate reserve was allowed, said a study published in the journal JAMA Oncology.