Here’s the Exercise That Could Save Older Women from Heartaches

Fitness trainer assisting an old woman

Walking is the most popular exercise among seniors. For elderly women, though, this physical activity may just be the key to saving them from heart conditions, as a new study shows. Experts in Utah strongly support the researchers’ call for an active lifestyle for seniors, promoting exercise sessions as part of assisted living service Farmington communities provide.

Women on Walking

A research from the University of Buffalo in New York explored how walking affects two subtypes of heart failure: systolic heart failure and diastolic heart failure. The former happens when the left side of the heart doesn’t function normally during systole, the stage of the heartbeat when the heart pumps the blood out to the body. The latter, on the other hand, happens when the ventricles don’t relax as they should.

Now, ejection fraction is the term used to describe the amount of blood being pumped out of the body during a heartbeat. The normal is 55%. In systolic heart failure, this dips to 40%. In diastolic heart failure, it’s at 50%, which may appear normal, but if the heart muscles are stiff, that still presents a problem.

The researchers in the study examined data of over 130,000 post-menopausal women. They found that for every extra 30 to 45 minutes of daily exercise, the risk of having heart failure goes down by 9%, 8% for diastolic heart failure, and 10% for systolic heart failure. Moreover, women who exercise are 32% to 33% less likely to develop the health problem, compared to those who live a sedentary lifestyle. Researchers then said that walking has a protective effect on the heart.

Towards an Active, Socially Vibrant Life

While walking is an easy and safe physical activity for seniors, some refuse to get into an active lifestyle. According to reports, women are less likely to move than men. There are lots of reasons for this, from the emotional challenges of the reality of aging to medical conditions.

This is why a lot of families choose assisted living. In such housing arrangements, their aging parents are able to not just adopt a fit lifestyle, but also participate in recreational activities with others in the community. This social aspect encourages them to be accountable with their exercises and at the same time, relieves anxieties and stresses of life.

Time and time again, studies have shown that exercise is good. But are your aging relatives actually maximizing this “good”? Perhaps, it’s time to take them out for a walk.