News Flash > Cardiovascular Health

 

Aerobics no Stretch for Older Adults

Reported October 27, 2009


(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Just three months of aerobic activity could reap huge benefits for older adults with Type 2 diabetes by improving the elasticity in their arteries, thereby reducing their risk of heart disease and stroke.

Dr. Kenneth Madden, a geriatric specialist at the University of British Columbia, studied adults between the ages of 65 to 83 with controlled Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol to see how increased activity might affect stiffness of the arteries. "The theory is that aerobic activity makes your arteries less stiff and makes artery walls more elastic," Dr. Madden was quoted as saying.

The group that performed the activity saw an improvement in the elasticity of their arteries, compared to those who didn't exercise. According to Dr. Madden, "There was an impressive drop in arterial stiffness after just three months of exercise. In that time we saw a 15 to 20 per cent reduction."

 

 

"Almost everyone can benefit from active living," Dr. Beth Abramson, spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, was quoted as saying. "The Foundation recommends that, like adults of any age, older adults – with the consent of their physicians - need 30 to 60 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week."

"There seems to be a knee-jerk reluctance to getting these older adults to exercise,” said Dr. Madden, “yet we used a vigorous level of activity and didn't have any trouble keeping participants in our study. They enjoyed the activity. People always underestimate what older adults can do."

Dr. Madden noted that realistically, seniors need someone to help them get started.

"We need to learn how to do it effectively and how to do it safely," he said.

Dr. Abramson recommended that seniors choose activities they enjoy, such as walking, gardening, golfing, dancing, or joining a yoga or tai chi class. If weather is a barrier, she suggested climbing stairs at home, joining a mall-walking group, or strolling the halls of their apartment building.

SOURCE: Presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, Edmonton, Alberta, October 25, 2009