Lower Heart Failure Risk in Older Women With 3,600 Steps a Day


Women age 60 and older who took an average of 3,600 steps per day at a normal pace had a 26 percent lower risk of heart failure than women with lower activity levels in a new study published February 21 in JAMA Cardiology.

For older women who could still walk around and who lived at home, higher amounts of ordinary daily light and moderate intensity activities were associated with a lower risk of heart failure, says the study’s lead author, Michael J. LaMonte, PhD, MPH, a research professor of epidemiology and environmental health at the State University of New York in Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.

“For women who are able, getting 3,600 steps is a reasonable target that would be consistent with the amount of daily activity performed by women in this study,” says Dr. LaMonte. Three thousand steps is the equivalent of about a mile and a half.

These findings show that physical activity is an important component of a healthy lifestyle, says Mercedes Carnethon, PhD, the vice chair of the department of preventive medicine and a professor of epidemiology and pulmonary and critical care medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

“To know that a behavior that is under one’s control — how much they exercise and the extent to which they can reduce their time spent sitting — can have such powerful benefits in preventing heart failure is a major advance in our field,” says Dr. Carnethon, who was not involved in the study.


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