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Fitness in your 60s cuts heart attack risk

Fitness in your 60s cuts heart attack risk

It's never too late to start exercise, as new research has found that beginning workouts in your 60s can make a big improvement to health.

Add to that that older people benefit from daily exercise more than they would have when they were younger and there's no excuse, with as little as 20 minutes walking cutting the risk of a heart attack in a 60-year-old man by a fifth.

A team from Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute looked at 33,000 Swedish men with an average age of 60 between 1998 and 2012. The participants filled out a questionnaire about their current exercise regime, as well as documenting how fit they were at 30.

The findings, published in the journal of American College of Cardiology, revealed more recent activity affected the men's health in a bigger way. Males who worked out more earlier in life but were inactive later were no less likely to suffer health problems than anyone else.

If anything, subjects who became fitter in later life had the biggest reduction in the chance of heart failure; their odds dropped by 21 per cent. Men who did little exercise at 60 were 47 per cent more likely to have heart problems than their fitter counterparts.

However, things took a turn when people did too much exercise. In fact strenuous working out left people 51 per cent more at risk of heart failure, so balance is key.

"Some studies have suggested heavy physical exercise, such as intense long-distance running, is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes," the authors wrote.

"We found that recent activity may be more important for heart failure protection than past physical activity levels," study leader Andrea Bellavia added.

Professor Naveed Sattar of Glasgow University also supported this study, noting that once you find something you enjoy in later life it's best to stick to it. He also warns sedentary people that becoming moderately active is safer than being "super active", as the study found above.

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