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Exercise Matters Most After 30, Ladies

Jun. 26, 2014|327 views
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We all know exercise is important for health. It helps keep us trim, fit, and energetic. Regular exercise can boost your mood, improve the appearance of your skin, and help you keep off unwanted pounds. It increases strength and endurance, and can even boost your body's ability to fight off infections. We all know we need to remain active to stay healthy.

But did you know that after the age of 30, exercise is the single most important thing a woman can do to help prevent deadly heart disease? Of course, physical activity at any age is beneficial. But new research suggests that the opposite of regular exercise—physical inactivity—is the single biggest modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease that women experience.

Not diet, or cholesterol levels, or blood pressure, or any of the rest of the many known risk factors that can affect your relative risk of developing heart disease. Inactivity. It's the greatest enemy. Sitting. Not moving. Being inactive.

That's pretty amazing when you think about it. Heart disease the the leading cause of death among men and women alike in the developed world. Not cancer. Heart disease.

Imagine someone told you you could slash your risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer by exercising regularly. You'd probably be pretty motivated to do it. Wouldn't you? Well, while it's true that evidence also suggests that exercise can affect cancer risk, in some instances, the link is nowhere near as clear as the recently identified link between women's heart disease risk and lack of exercise after the age of 30. Up until 30, smoking is the single biggest contributor to heart disease risk among women. But from 30 to 90, inactivity was the most dangerous factor linked to heart disease.

W. J. Brown, T. Pavey, A. E. Bauman. Comparing population attributable risks for heart disease across the adult lifespan in women. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-093090

Tags:  exercise, heart health, health tips, prevention
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