Getting fit in middle age may protect your heart

Getting fit in middle age may protect your heart May 17, 2013

Getting fit in your 40s and 50s can help protect your heart as you age. — AFP-Relaxnews picTEXAS, May 17 — Middle-aged people who are overweight or out of shape may think it’s too late to get fit. But new US research finds that shaping up in midlife can reduce risk for heart failure later on.

The reduction risk was also found to be independent of other risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, the study found.

Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas ranked fitness levels of 9,050 middle-aged men and women who took two treadmill fitness tests eight years apart in mid-life. After 18 years of follow-up, they matched the fitness information to health insurance (Medicare) claims for heart failure hospitalisations.

“People who weren’t fit at the start of the study were at higher risk for heart failure after age 65,” said lead author Dr. Ambarish Pandey. “However, those who improved their fitness reduced their heart failure risk, compared to those who continued to have a low fitness level eight years later.”

“Improving fitness is a good heart failure prevention strategy – along with controlling blood pressure and improving diet and lifestyle – that could be employed in mid-life to decrease the risk of heart failure in later years,” Pandey said.

The team presented their findings May 15 at an American Heart Association scientific meeting in Baltimore. — AFP-Relaxnews

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