Moving more each day may help women reduce the risk of heart failure

A woman with a mask smiles as she walks down the street.

A study of 80,000 postmenopausal women, ages 50-79, participating in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, found sitting or lying down for most of the day correlated with higher rates of being hospitalized for heart failure. The women were followed for nine years and provided researchers information every few years about how long they spent sitting or lying down each day, separate from their sleep schedule.

After controlling for variables like age, race, income, medical history, and lifestyle factors, the researchers found women who were most sedentary had higher risks for heart failure. These trends persisted for women who were active for at least 7.5 hours each week, a recommendation from the 2018 U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines. For example, women who met the national movement guidelines, which helps reduce heart failure risk, still had a 24% increased risk of being hospitalized for heart failure if they were inactive for at least 9.5 hours each day. The researchers note the findings, coupled with a growing population of older adults, support the need for population-level strategies to decrease sedentary behavior and increase physical activity to further mitigate heart failure risks.

The study, published in Circulation: Heart Failure, was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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