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Physical activity, essential for the prevention of cardiovascular risk in seniors

Everyone knows that regular physical activity is essential to stay healthy, regardless of our age. However, this consideration is all the more important for seniors. A study conducted by doctors indeed highlights the benefits of regular physical activity , in combination with a reduction in the time spent sitting for the prevention of cardiovascular risk in seniors.

prevention of cardiovascular risk in the elderly

Seniors who are too sedentary

The sedentary lifestyle is the lack of physical activity every day. In recent decades, changes in our professional and personal lifestyles (IT, transport, lack of time, etc.) have led to a general increase in sedentary lifestyle . It’s a fact: we are not moving enough. The elderly, in particular, are largely affected by this scourge. Most seniors would spend 80% of their time sitting down . However, it has been proven that this inactivity considerably increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, but also of diabetes , breast cancer , or obesity .

With age, it is normal for physical condition to deteriorate. However, this phenomenon can accelerate and intensify if no regular activity is practiced. Sedentary lifestyle is in this sense a vicious circle  : the more the body loses its habit of producing an effort, the more it gains in fat and loses flexibility. The muscle condition deteriorates, causing pain and difficulty that keeps the person in an increasingly advanced state of inactivity.

Increase the duration of physical activity to reduce cardiovascular risk

A doctors team recently studied the behavior of more than 3,000 people over the age of 60, with the aim of estimating the impact of different levels of physical activity on the development of cardiovascular disease. The participants in the study were thus provided with an accelerometer to measure the number of hours spent in a sitting position or in motion. This device can also measure the intensity of physical activity  : light, moderate or vigorous.

The results of the study show that being active for at least 150 minutes per week can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by about 20%. In particular, increasing the duration of moderate to vigorous physical activity, even if only 10 minutes , helps prevent cardiovascular risk. This is particularly valid for the more sedentary seniors, who spend more than 14 hours a day sitting .

The doctors emphasizes one point in particular: to be effective, this increase in physical activity must also be accompanied by a reduction in the time spent sitting , in particular for the most sedentary people.

Prevention of cardiovascular risk in seniors: What type of physical activity is suitable?

In addition to having an impact on the prevention of cardiovascular risk in the elderly, the practice of a physical activity also makes it possible to maintain a good mental and physical condition . Elderly people who play sports or exercise regularly are therefore less at risk of depression or fracture of the femoral neck. It also promotes the maintenance of autonomy .

WHO therefore recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week , or 75 minutes of vigorous activity . This practice of a physical activity can take several forms: practice of a sport of course, but not only. It may simply be the regular practice of chores of daily life , such as going shopping, taking the stairs, cycling, doing housework, DIY or gardening.

However, each person must take care to respect their own physical capacities . Too intense efforts should be avoided for the elderly whose body is not or no longer used to the practice of intensive sport. The main thing is to move at your own pace, on a regular basis, by doing activities that are fun .


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