Friday, 1 March, 2024
HomeSport and Exercise MedicineExercise improves heart rate variability in seniors

Exercise improves heart rate variability in seniors

Seniors who maintain or boost their physical activity levels are less likely to suffer a heart attack. [s]Health24[/s] reports that researchers say exercise improves the electrical well-being of their hearts and reduces the risk of heart rhythm problems. They examined heart monitor data collected from 985 older adults, average age 71, over five years. The more physical activity the participants engaged in, the better their heart rate variability. ‘Any physical activity is better than none, but maintaining or increasing your activity has added heart benefits as you age. Our results also suggest that these certain beneficial changes that occur may be reduced when physical activity is reduced,’ study author Luisa Soares-Miranda, a researcher at the [b]Harvard School of Public Health[/b].

And brisk walking for two hours a week may help boost brainpower in women at risk of dementia. An [s]IoL[/s] reports a study that found that in women with early memory problems, aerobic activity increased the size of the hippocampus – an area of the brain involved in learning and memory, and very sensitive to the effects of ageing. Study leader Dr Teresa Liu-Ambrose, of the [b]University of British Columbia[/b], said the relationship between brain volume and cognitive performance was complex. But she said the study showed that aerobic exercise appears at least to be able to slow the shrinkage of the hippocampus with age.

If all over-30s followed recommended guidelines on exercise, nearly 3,000 lives could be saved each year in Australia alone, researchers are quoted in a [s]BBC News[/s] report as saying. A team at the [b]University of Queensland[/b] tackled the health of more than 30,000 women born in the 1920s, 1940s and 1970s. They found smoking had the greatest impact on women's heart disease risk below the age of 30. However, as women got older and more gave up smoking, it was overtaken by physical inactivity as the dominant influence on heart disease risk. A greater effort was needed to promote exercise, which they describe as a ‘Cinderella’ risk factor compared with obesity.

Meanwhile, research shows that exercise during childhood provides the best window of opportunity to grow and strengthen bones for later in life. [s]Health-Canal[/s] reports that healthcare scientists at [b]Manchester Metropolitan University[/b] have shown that exercising while young – especially in adolescence – results in up to 40% greater bone size, highlighting the importance of regular physical activity to get protection years into the future. But adults who take up sport get far less benefit for their bones, meaning that childhood is the best time to strengthen bones. Researchers at the [b]University and the German Aerospace Centre[/b] worked with the [b]Lawn Tennis Association[/b] to study elite tennis players, from nine to 90 years old.

[link url=]Full Health24 report[/link]
[link url=]Circulation abstract[/link]
[link url=]Full IoL report[/link]
[link url=]British Journal of Sports Medicine abstract[/link]
[link url=]Full BBC News report[/link]
[link url=]British Journal of Sports Medicine abstract[/link]
[link url=]Full Health-Canal report[/link]
[link url=]Osteoporosis International abstract[/link]

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