Fit and Fabulous Over 40


Exercise Helps Deter Middle-Age Heart Damage

Exercise Helps Deter Middle-Age Heart Damage
May 02
12:30 2017

Many women find that in their younger child rearing years, they are run raged, often complaining about not enough time in a day to do everything. Some crave just 15 minutes of quiet, alone rest, just to unwind, catch their breath and gather their thoughts about them. Raising children is a fulltime position and then some. And yet, many women try to juggle raising their kids and managing a fulltime job at the same time. It’s definitely a time of lots of stress and activity.

But as their kids get older, the hectic rat-race pace often slows down. Life gets easier, less complicated and there is more time to rest. They find those precious 15 minutes of peace and quiet alone time and more.

As kids go off to college, get married or move out on their own, life often slows down even more. Yes, there is always the worry about what they are doing and if they are okay, but the constant errands, school related activities, doctors, shopping and other parts of life begin to ebb.

With this stage of life, many women find that slowing down the activity also means just slowing down in general. It’s common for many women to put on more weight as they reach these years. Part of that is lack of activity, part may be due to diet and yet part may be due to the body changing as one gets older.

One of the hidden consequences of this newly found slower life style is that it can lead to heart damage and disease. Over the past decade or two, we’ve heard a lot more from the medical community about women with heart disease. At one time, most heart attacks and heart disease were associated with men and their working lifestyles, along with other factors like drinking. But lately, more and more, we’re hearing about the increase in the number of women with heart related issues, especially as they pass into mid-life and older.

Besides watching one’s diet, there is something else that can be done to help reduce the risk of mid-life heart damage. Exercise. Yes, the dreaded ‘E’ word.

As one’s life slows down, so does the necessary exercising of various parts of the body, including the heart. We’ve all seen people who don’t get enough exercise as they reach mid-life and older. Their biceps seem to hang under their arm instead of the once muscular mound on top. The same thing happens with the heart, if it doesn’t get enough exercise. It begins to sag and not function like it should.

A recent report stated:

“Exercise can reduce the risk of heart damage in middle-aged adults and seniors — even in those who are obese, according to a new study.”

“‘The protective association of physical activity against [heart] damage may have implications for heart failure risk reduction, particularly among the high-risk group of individuals with excess weight,’ study lead author Dr. Roberta Florido said in an American College of Cardiology news release.”

“Florido is a cardiology fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.”

“‘Promoting physical activity,’ she added, ‘may be a particularly important strategy for heart failure risk reductions among high risk groups such as those with obesity’.”

The study involved 9,400 people between the ages of 45 and 64. They divided them into three main categories – those with lower levels to no activity, those with moderate or intermediate levels of activity and those with fully active routines. They defined moderate or intermediate as having 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity or 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous activity.

Their results indicated that the moderate or intermediate activity group had 34% more heart damage than the fully active group. The group with no activity or lower activity had 39% more heart damage than the fully active group.

They also found that even in obese people, those followed a recommended activity level of more than 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity or more than 150 minutes a week of moderate activity had lower levels of a heart damage indicator in their blood called troponin. The higher the levels of troponin found in the blood, the greater the amount of damage to the heart muscles.

It’s important to get sufficient activity or exercise every week to help deter damage to the heart muscles, especially as we age and our lives begin to slow down.


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