Light physical activity shows benefits for heart health of older women

Women 60 and older can see significant improvements in their heart health from even light physical activity, such as housework, gardening, and leisurely strolls.

This kind of activity might be enough to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease events such as stroke or heart failure by up to 22 percent, and the risk of heart attack or coronary death, by as much as 42 percent, among this population, according to a new NHLBI-funded study published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

“When we tell people to move with heart, we mean it, and the supporting evidence keeps growing," said David Goff, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at NHLBI. "This study suggests that for older women, any and all movement counts towards better cardiovascular health.” Goff added that the findings are consistent with the federal government's most recent physical activity guidelines, which encourage replacing sedentary behavior with light physical activity as much as possible.