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A report by the American Heart Association shows that doing physical activities enhances the performance of blood vessels and reduces the likelihood of deadly issues

According to research published this month by the Journal of the American Heart Association, working out dramatically improves the performance of the elderly’s cardiovascular systems, even if he or she is not used to regular physical activities – women benefit particularly from active lives.

“The 60 to 64 age range represents an important transition between work and retirement, when lifestyle behaviors tend to change,” said Ahmed Elhakeem, Ph.D., study author and senior research associate in epidemiology at University of Bristol’s Medical School, in the United Kingdom.

Cardiovascular diseases are closely related to sedentariness, whose risks are higher among older adults. For that reason, the researcher thinks this time of change should be considered an opportunity to find a suitable physical activity and make it part of one’s daily life. “We found it’s important to replace time spent sedentary with any intensity level of activity,” said Elhakeem in an interview with the American Heart Association.

Brazilian physician Silvia Ayub, from Instituto do Coração do Hospital das Clínicas (The Heart Institute of Clínicas Hospital, at the University of São Paulo) points out that physical activities are powerful enough to fight not only the risks associated to cardiovascular diseases, but also other problems that result from sedentary, such as obesity, hypertension, and hormone-related disorders. “Activities are physically conditioning. It’s a sum of things. The benefits are cumulative. The sooner you start adding physical exercises to your daily routine, the greater the benefits to your health,” she says.

Researchers studied more than 1,600 British volunteers, who wore heart rate and movement sensors for five days. The sensors revealed not only how much physical activity, in general, they were doing, but also how much light physical activity, such as slow walking, stretching, golfing or gardening, versus moderate-to-vigorous activity, such as brisk walking, bicycling, dancing, tennis, squash, lawn mowing or vacuuming.

For an improved cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association recommends doing at least 150 minutes/week of moderate physical activities or 75 minutes/week of heavy aerobics activities (or a combination of both), as well as muscle strengthening exercises once or twice a week.

New Global Guidelines

In a report published in 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that child obesity may already be a world epidemic. The survey shows that 41 million children aged 5 and below are overweight. The main reasons would be lack of natural food; greater access to fast food; consumption of soft drinks, fats, and sugars; and time spent on TV, video games, and mobile devices. All of these lead children to do less physical activities.

The WHO document outlines clear guidelines for monitoring the height-weight ratio during the child’s growth phase and recommends engaging parents, schools, and health professionals, should an overweight condition be detected. Besides taking care of your children’s nutrition and adding physical exercises to their daily routine, the organization quotes breastfeeding as extremely important during the first six months of life and also through the first 24 months or beyond.

“Chronic malnutrition is a potential risk factor for overweight or obese children. The WHO does not recommend giving routinely formulated supplemental foods to moderately underweight children, except these are required due to food insecurity from either the family or the community”, highlights the report.

Content published in September 17, 2018

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