Starting Physical Activity Late in Life Could Lead to Less Cardiovascular Benefits

Health In Focus   - G J E 4
  • Regardless of age, any kind of cardio or aerobic activity helps you get stronger and fitter.
  • Regular cardio workout maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood and increases blood flow to your muscles
  • Starting exercise at an earlier age rather than later is beneficial for the heart and well-being.
It's a known fact that regular exercise such as walking, jogging, bicycling or swimming can help you live longer and healthier.
Starting Physical Activity Late in Life Could Lead to Less Cardiovascular Benefits
Starting Physical Activity Late in Life Could Lead to Less Cardiovascular Benefits

Regular exercise improves blood circulation, blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure and helps keep your weight under control besides promoting enthusiasm and optimism. Exercise and physical activity boost your zeal for life and it's never too late to start it!

‘Physical inactivity is a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease as well as other chronic diseases.’
However, a recent study demonstrates that introducing a structured physical activity or starting exercise late in your life does not reduce risk of heart disease or help you live longer.

In a multisite trial that was conducted, a total of 1635 sedentary people with an average age of 79 (30% with histories of cardiovascular disease; 70% with at least one major cardiovascular risk factor) were included. They were then randomized into either a structured physical-activity-intervention or an education control group.

The physical activity intervention group did two exercise sessions weekly which were supervised. They also performed home-based activity three to four times weekly which included walking (goal, 150 minutes weekly) as well as strength training.

Patients in the control group attended weekly education sessions for a period of 26 weeks and monthly sessions thereafter.

For both the groups follow-up was done for an average of 2.6 years. At the end of the study, it was observed that there were no significant differences in rates of adverse cardiovascular (CV) events, myocardial infarction, stroke or CV-related death between the groups.

Thus it was concluded that greater physical activity in older individuals did not prevent adverse CV events and the authors thought that this was because the intervention came too late in life. Another chain of thought was that since the control group underwent education intervention, this could have stimulated sufficient physical activity, thus minimizing differences between the two groups.

The authors of the study commented, "The lack of association between physical activity and reduced CVD found here should not detract from efforts to promote a program of sustained walking and weight training in frail older adults."

The authors feel that there is a host of other benefits of starting exercise at an older age such as preserving and improving mobility, which could be achieved without excess CV risk.

  1. No Cardiovascular Benefit from Starting Physical Activity Later in Life - (
  2. Physical Activity Improves Quality of Life - (
Source: Medindia

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