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Household Movement Benefits Elderly With Mobility Issues

Less sedentary time translates into cardiovascular benefits

THURSDAY, Feb. 19, 2015 (HealthDay News) — For older adults with physical impairments, simply reducing sedentary time benefits heart health, according to a study published online Feb. 18 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“We hear the advice to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, but that can be quite challenging for seniors with limited mobility,” Thomas Buford, Ph.D., the senior researcher on the study, and director of the Health Promotion Center of the University of Florida Institute on Aging in Gainesville, told HealthDay.

Buford’s team found some encouraging results: Among 1,170 elderly adults with limited mobility, those who fit some movement into their days — such as light housework or slow walking — had a lower predicted risk of suffering a heart attack over the next 10 years. “This is an important concept — that just reducing the amount of time you’re sedentary could have cardiovascular benefits,” said Buford.

Buford’s team found that, on average, the study group was sedentary for more than 10 hours a day. They spent another three hours or so being active, mostly at a level equivalent to doing light household chores or walking slowly. Even that light activity seemed to make a difference. “For every 25 to 30 minutes that a person was sedentary, the predicted risk of [heart attack or death] increased 1 percent,” Buford said.

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