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- According to a new study published in the European Heart Journal, people over 60 years old who get daily moderate or intense exercise have a significantly lower chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
- Cycling for 20 minutes or more per day can keep your waist circumference, blood pressure, and cholesterol in check and also counts as vigorous physical activity.
As we age, it can become harder and harder to make exercise a priority. With full time jobs, family responsibilities, and busy social lives, working out regularly can take a back seat—even if we don’t mean for it to happen. But new research highlights just how important continuing to make time for rides is for your heart—especially for those over 60.
The study, published in the European Heart Journal, included more than 1.1 million people ages 60 or older with records from the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) in South Korea who had no history of cardiovascular disease at the time their records were first entered.
When researchers analyzed these records in the subsequent years, they found a correlation between the amount of physical activity people performed and their risk of stroke and heart disease. Specifically, those who got moderate exercise (30 minutes or more a day of brisk walking, dancing, or gardening) or vigorous exercise (20 minutes or more a day of running, fast cycling, aerobic exercise) were 11 percent less likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. However, those who got less than that were 27 percent more likely to develop heart or blood vessel problems.
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Why? According to the study, regular physical activity ensures that your body is able to regulate its glucose levels using insulin, which keeps things like waist circumference, blood pressure, and cholesterol in check.
“These are good things because they play critical roles in cardiovascular health,” Kyuwoong Kim, Ph.D.(c), the study’s lead author who is studying biomedical sciences at Seoul National University, told Bicycling.
The takeaway, according to Kim, is that older adults should maintain or increase their exercise frequency to benefit their cardiovascular health.
“Bicycling belongs to the category of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Therefore, we hope that our research could encourage older adults to do more bicycling within their physical ability to do so,” Kim said.