No Such Thing as Too Late?

by WLR Staff

It is widely accepted that many of us do not get enough exercise. In fact, new government figures suggest that as few as 37% of men and 24% of women manage to do the 5 sessions of moderate physical activity weekly, recommended for fitness.

However, despite these figures, most people also acknowledge the benefits that regular physical activity can bring. Serious diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease have frequently been linked to sedentary lifestyles in the past.

For many of us, facts and figures like these can make for depressing reading. However, recent research has unearthed some encouraging findings. Experts in Germany interviewed 312 coronary heart disease patients as well as 479 people living without the disease about their exercise habits throughout their lifetime. All participants were aged between 40 and 68 years.

The researchers found that those with the lowest risk of coronary heart disease were those who had led active lifestyles throughout their childhood and adult lives. This group were found to be at 60% lower risk.

However, those who had led sedentary lifestyles until the age of 40, and then become more active, were 55% less likely to be diagnosed with the disease than those who didn’t change their lifestyles at all.

Scientists said, in reference to this data that it “provides evidence that changing from a sedentary to an active physical activity pattern, even at an older age, may result in a strong reduction of coronary heart disease risk.

Alterations to daily activities don’t have to be drastic in order to achieve reductions in the risk. Activities such as moderate walking for 30 minutes a day can be just as effective as vigorous sporting activities.

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