Gardening, Country Walks And Gentle Sports Cut Heart Disease Risk

A University College London (UCL) study has discovered that a moderate increase in exercise when you retire can make big improvements to your heart health.

In the study funded by the British Heart Foundation, over 4,000 people in the transition to retirement were quizzed on their exercise routines and had their levels of inflammation – which can lead to ‘furring’ of the arteries and heart disease in later life – measured to gauge their heart health.

Gentle exercise in later years reduce risk of heart disease

UCL researchers found inflammation was lower in people who embrace an active lifestyle once they retire, than people who carry on being couch potatoes.

In a statement, the BHF said: "This is great news for retirees who often indulge in gardening, countryside walks and gentle sports once they are no longer chained to their desks. In the study a remarkable 83% of people around retirement age managed the recommended 2.5 hours a week of moderate physical activity."

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In The Journal of Physiology, Mayo Clinic physiologist Michael Joyner, argues that a lack of exercise should be treated as a medical condition.

As a sedentary lifestyle is a common cause of obesity, and excessive body weight and fat in turn are considered catalysts for diabetes, high blood pressure, joint damage and other serious health problems, Joyner suggests it's necessary to begin prescribing exercise to patients.

In a statement, he says: "I would argue that physical inactivity is the root cause of many of the common problems that we have.

"If we were to medicalise it, we could then develop a way, just like we've done for addiction, cigarettes and other things, to give people treatments, and lifelong treatments, that focus on behavioral modifications and physical activity.

"Then we can take public health measures, like we did for smoking, drunken driving and other things, to limit physical inactivity and promote physical activity."

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