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London: If you want to live longer and remain healthy, then start walking at a faster pace as it can reduce the risk of mortality due to cardiovascular disease, say researchers.
The results showed that walPatients with heart disease should focus more on increasing their physical activity level, and not just weight loss, for long life, researchers suggest.
The findings, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), showed that heart disease patients can gain weight without jeopardising their health, but sitting in their recliner incurs significant health risks.
“The fact that gaining weight posed no increased risk when patients were already overweight, I think is a bit surprising,” said Trine Moholdt from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway.
The results indicate that weight gain does not seem to increase the risk for already overweight patients, which would mean that it isn’t dangerous for a fat heart patient to gain a few pounds. What is dangerous is if the person does not engage in any form of exercise.
People who are physically active live longer than those who are not. Sustained physical activity over time was associated with substantially lower mortality risk.
“It may be that weight is less important for heart patients, but we know that physical activity is very important,” Moholdt added.
However, the findings do not mean that it is never a good idea for an overweight heart patient to slim down.
“In our view, desired or intentional weight reduction may be useful for overweight or obese individuals, although little data supports this view in studies of coronary heart disease patients,” Moholdt said.
For the study, the team examined 3,307 individuals (1,038 women) with coronary heart disease.
The results showed that the risk of premature death was higher for the group of patients who were completely inactive than for either of the other groups. The prognosis for people who exercise a little bit, even if it is below the recommended level, is better than not exercising at all.
“Even being somewhat active is better than being inactive, but patients have to maintain the activity level. Physical activity is perishable–if you snooze you lose its benefits,” Moholdt noted king at an average pace reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality by 24 per cent and 21 per cent for those walking at a faster pace.
Walking at an average pace also reduced the risk for all-cause mortality by 20 per cent whereas walking at a fast pace reduced the risk by four more per cent, compared to walking at a slow pace.
“While sex and body mass index did not appear to influence outcomes, walking at an average or fast pace was associated with a significantly reduced risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease. There was no evidence to suggest pace had a significant influence on cancer mortality, however,” said lead author, Emmanuel Stamatakis, Professor from Charles Perkins Centre and School of Public Health at the University of Sydney.
“A fast pace is generally five to seven kilometres per hour, but it really depends on a walker’s fitness levels; an alternative indicator is to walk at a pace that makes you slightly out of breath or sweaty when sustained,” he added.
The study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine included data from 50,225 walkers.
The researchers also found that average pace walkers aged 60 years or over experienced a 46 per cent reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular causes, and fast pace walkers a 53 per cent reduction.
The research team hopes that walking pace gets emphasised in public health messages.
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