Even a Little Exercise May Help Younger Women’s Hearts

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Those active about 2.5 hours a week had 25 percent lower disease risk than those who weren’t, study found

Younger women who exercise just 2.5 hours a week may cut their risk for heart disease by up to 25 percent, a new study suggests.

“The habits and the choices we make in the first half of our life determine our well-being and freedom from chronic disease in the second half of our lives,” said Dr. Erin Michos, an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

“Importantly, higher levels of physical activity have been shown to be associated with reduction in rates of heart disease, stroke, cancers, diabetes and many other chronic health conditions,” said Michos.

She co-authored an editorial accompanying the study, which was published online July 25 in the journal Circulation.

Lead researcher Andrea Chomistek said women can achieve the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week in as many or as few sessions as they wish.

Joining a gym or walking or bicycling, or any other moderate activity that one enjoys, can be enough to reduce your risk of heart disease, she said.

Chomistek, an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Indiana University’s School of Public Health, thinks that men, too, can achieve a similar benefit with a few hours a week of moderate exercise. But, further research would be needed.

“It is important for normal-weight, overweight and obese women to be physically active,” she said. “For people who are currently inactive and find joining a gym intimidating, emphasizing the benefits of walking may help them get active.”

For the study, Chomistek and her colleagues collected data on more than 97,000 women, aged 27 to 44, who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study 2.

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SOURCE: WebMD News from HealthDay
Steven Reinberg