Did you know that women 75-84 years of age are three times as likely to have heart failure compared with women 65-74 years old? The risk increases with age.
Let this information sink in for a while and think of the elderly women in your life - your mom, your aunt, or maybe a friend.
Well, there’s some good news.
A new research presented at the American College of Cardiology's 67th Annual Scientific Session showed that regular walking – yes, that’s right, regular – brings down the risk of heart failure among women 50 years old and above.
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Researcher Dr. Somwail Rasla said, “We already know that physical activity lowers the risk of heart failure, but there may be a misconception that simply walking isn't enough.”
"Our analysis shows walking is not only an accessible form of exercise but almost equal to all different types of exercise that have been studied before in terms of lowering heart failure risk. Essentially, we can reach a comparable energetic expenditure through walking that we gain from other types of physical activity."
The study analyzed walking behavior and health outcomes among 89,000 women between the ages 50 and 79 years for over a more than 10-year period.
Regular walking for at least 40 minutes several times per week at an average to fast pace is associated with a near 25% drop in the risk of heart failure among post-menopausal women regardless of a woman’s body weight or whether or not she performs other forms of exercise besides walking.
Let’s break that information down:
- Women who walked at least twice a week had a 20 to 25% lower risk of heart failure than those who walked less frequently.
- Those who walked for 40 minutes or more at a time had a 21 to 25% lower risk than those taking shorter walks.
- Women walking at an average or fast pace showed a 26 and 38% lower risk of heart failure, respectively, compared with women who walked at a casual pace.
"The results show that even obese and overweight women can still benefit from walking to decrease their risk of heart failure,” said Dr. Rasla.