Tufts University researchers in Massachusetts have found that walking longer or faster can have heart health benefits for seniors, even for those over the age of 75.
The researchers looked at more than 3,900 men and women over a 10-year period and evaluated their walking distance and pace as well as other leisure activities like lawn mowing, gardening, swimming, biking and hiking.
Their conclusions were amazing. For those seniors who walked faster than 3 miles per hour (4.8 Km/h), there was a 50 percent lower risk of heart disease and 53% lower risk of stroke than those only walking 2mph (3.2 km/h). And those who walked an average of seven blocks (less than a mile) per day showed a 47% lower risk compared to those walking only five blocks a week. Gardening and swimming were also shown to lower risk of heart disease. The median age of the study’s participants was 73.
First author of the study Luisa Soares-Miranda wrote, “It appears that whether one increases the total distance or the pace of walking, CVD risk is lowered. Fortunately, walking is an activity that many older adults can enjoy.”
The study’s lead researcher Dariush Mozaffarian wrote “These results are especially relevant because, with advancing age, the ability to perform vigorous types of activity often decreases. Our findings support the importance of continuing light to moderate exercise to improve health across the lifespan.”
A 2011 Australian study of more than 1,700 men over 70 showed that walking 3mph was beneficial for health later in life. Those who walked 3mph lived longer than those walking only 2mph.
“Those whose habits are sedentary should, when the weather will permit, exercise in the open air every day, summer or winter. Walking is preferable to riding or driving, for it brings more of the muscles into exercise. The lungs are forced into healthy action, since it is impossible to walk briskly without inflating them…” The Faith I Live By, page 232
“Morning exercise, in walking in the free, invigorating air of heaven, or cultivating flowers, small fruits, and vegetables, is necessary to a healthful circulation of the blood. It is the surest safeguard against colds, coughs, congestions of the brain and lungs, inflammation of the liver, the kidneys, and the lungs, and a hundred other diseases.” Healthful Living, page 130
There is no exercise that can take the place of walking. By it the circulation of the blood is greatly improved. Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, page 78
Nature Knows Best!