European trick Lowers Risk of Heart Diseases by 30%
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the developed world. That means stroke or heart attack are more likely to kill you than anything else, especially if you’re over 60 years of age. Both stroke and heart attack are caused by small blood clots that break free of diseased blood vessels, traveling to the heart or brain, where they block the flow of blood to those organs, and trigger potentially deadly tissue death. At the very least, such attacks can be severely debilitating. More commonly, they result in death.
Of course, many people take statin drugs to help control one of the risk factors that can lead to the underlying blood vessel disorder that precedes cardiovascular disease; atherosclerosis. Statin drugs help reduce levels of so-called “bad” LDL-cholesterol, which is implicated in the development of atherosclerosis but those come with their own set of side effects, so in my opinion why not try a non invasive approach first.
Diet and exercise are also considered essential to combat the condition but if you are in your retirement years, you may not want to take up high impact activities, which is understandable. Until now, researchers didn’t know much about whether other types of activity affect cardiovascular disease risk.
According to new research, activity doesn’t have to be vigorous to be beneficial. Something as simple as gardening, or doing household do-it-yourself projects, can be enough to help forestall heart attack and stroke, and it can reduce one’s chance of succumbing to these conditions by as much as 30% while prolonging life.
To arrive at this conclusion, researchers studied more than 4,000 Swedish people over the age of 60. The subjects were followed for more than a dozen years. Investigators paid particular attention to factors such as “non-exercise physical activity.” Basically, this type of activity involves staying busy with enjoyable projects that get you up off the couch, without amounting to strenuous exercise. Examples include gardening, engaging in hobbies, etc.
From the very start of the study, people who engaged in non-exercise physical activity were more likely to have a smaller waist size and better blood lipid profiles than their peers who did not engage in such activities. After 12 years, “active” people were 30% less likely to have suffered a first heart attack or stroke, too. “Regardless of exercising regularly or not,” researchers concluded, “a generally active daily life...was associated with cardiovascular health and longevity in older adults.”
So there you have it. More evidence that shows you that being a couch potato, instead of getting up and DOING, is bad for your health.
Are the older people in your life staying busy? I’d love to hear your comments.
Ekblom-Bak E, Ekblom B, Vikström M, de Faire U, Hellénius ML. The importance of non-exercise physical activity for cardiovascular health and longevity. Br J Sports Med. 2013 Oct 28. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2012-092038. [Epub ahead of print]