You can improve heart health without structured exercise

Health.com
September 26, 2017

TUESDAY, Sept. 26, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The link between exercise and good health is a strong one. Still, many people -- particularly older adults -- find it difficult to take part in formal exercises, and become less physically active over time.

But scientists are discovering that if you keep moving, you can enjoy health benefits throughout your life, especially later on.

According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, people over 60 who stayed active in their everyday lives -- even without participating in a formal exercise program -- had a lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome. This syndrome can lead to diabetes, heart disease or heart attack, and even death.

The study participants' waistlines were trimmer and their cholesterol was lower. The men in particular also had lower levels of insulin and blood sugar.

The kinds of activities cited in the study included things like gardening and taking care of your car.

Being active on a regular basis also benefits everyday living. It can help you fall asleep faster, be more energized during the day, and boost concentration -- all of which make work and play much more satisfying.

So, if you've slowly turned into a couch potato, it's time to get up and get moving. You'll have a happier outlook and greater quality of life.

But what if you have a physical condition, like arthritis, that makes it harder to get off the sofa? Physical activity actually helps with both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It's OK to start slowly and add movement as you get more comfortable, researchers say.

Be consistent and, over time, you'll have less pain and move more easily, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advice for starting an exercise program for people with arthritis.

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