Exercise: why some is better than none.
Vascular health includes the arteries, veins and capillaries that carry blood to and from the heart. We really should avoid creating any unnecessary problems in this remarkable system, especially as we age; blood clots can clog vessels and block blood flow to the heart or brain. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to reduce risk. Indeed, an observational study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that even light physical activity, combined with less time sitting, is associated with signs of better heart and blood vessel health among older adults.
Researchers analysed health information for more than 1,600 people aged 60 to 64 who underwent clinical assessments and wore heart and physical activity monitors for five days. Participants’ activity ranged from light activities, such as stretching and golfing, to moderate-to-vigorous intensity, like brisk walking and dancing. Participants with light to moderate activity levels had more favourable biomarker profiles than those with a sedentary existence.
Of course, this advice also goes for the young; when anyone sits for six straight hours, whether it be at a desk, in front of a TV, or playing on a tablet, vascular function is impaired, with blood flow to the legs greatly reduced. Yet just 10 minutes of walking will help reverse the detrimental effects. The moral for us all – don’t forget to move…
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