Monday, October 26, 2009

Vigorous Exercise Makes Big Difference in Heart Health of Seniors

“New research suggests it's never too late for seniors saddled with Type 2 diabetes and other problems to start turning their health around through vigorous exercise often recommended only for younger people. While exercise is touted as a key component of health in people under the age of 65, the message often trails for people who are later in life, says Dr. Kenneth Madden, a geriatrician at the University of British Columbia. Madden decided to see whether aerobic exercise could have the same effect in what he terms 'the worst-case scenario' of patients - those with Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. ’There's a lot of talk about prevention, but everyone just kind of gives up when people are over 65 and have all these risk factors. So we decided - can you actually do something at this point?’ He assigned adults between the ages of 65 and 83 to one of two groups. One group continued to do no exercise at all while those in the other one engaged in vigorous exercise on treadmills and stationary bicycles for one hour, three times a week. The stiffness in their arteries - shown to be a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes - was measured by monitors on pulse points that checked how fast a pulse wave moved through their bodies. After three months, the exercise group had improved the stiffness of their arteries by about 20 per cent, a large impact in such a short period of time, says Madden.”

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