Posted on Mar 07, 2019, 11 p.m.
According to a new study how fit one is may offer a clearer forecast of lifespan than other more traditional markers such as high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and high blood pressure for seniors.
The study involved over 6,500 people aged 70+ who had exercise stress testing done between 1991-2009. After testing subjects were followed on average 10 years, during the follow up 39% had died; those who were most fit were found to be more than twice as likely to be alive a decade longer than those who were the least fit.
The number of risk factors for heart disease risk was not associated with the odds of death. Subjects with no risk factors were found to have the same chance of dying as those with 3+ risk factors according to the study; the only association found was that between fitness and lifespan.
Fitness was found to be a strong risk predictor of survival in the elder age grouping, regardless of being otherwise healthy or having cardiovascular risk factors; being more fit means you are more likely to live longer than someone who is less fit according to Dr. Seamus Whelton of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Findings emphasize importance of being fit, says Whelton who suggests using a treadmill or stationary bicycle is the best way to assess fitness, and asking about physical activity habits will give a general idea of a patient’s fitness. “Those who are sedentary or don’t exercise would benefit from a routine starting with low to moderate intensity exercises, but should talk with their physicians first.”
This study is scheduled to be presented at the ACC’s annual meeting in New Orleans on March 16, 2019; research presented at meeting is considered to be preliminary until findings are published in a peer reviewed journal.
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