Getting Active in their Leisure-time helped Middle-Age Adults have Lower Levels of Inflammatory Markers

credit: National Cancer Institute Bill Branson (Photographer) - PD

(Best Syndication News) - A study found that middle-aged adults who kept active on a regular basis during their leisure-time had better protection for the heart than those who remained inactive. The research was published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

The researchers investigated over 4,200 study participants with an average age of 49 to determine if leisure-time physical activities provided benefits to keeping a heart healthy. The leisure-time activities included brisk walking, vigorous gardening, cycling, sports, housework, and home maintenance.

Mark Hamer, Ph.D., the study’s lead author and associate professor of epidemiology and public health at University College in London, U.K., said that moderate intensity exercise is important as well as vigorous exercise. He adds that as we age, it is important to be physically active because it helps us age better.

At the beginning of the study (1991-1993), the researchers measured the participants baseline numbers for key inflammatory markers -- C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). They tested the participants again around 11 years later (1997-1999).

The participants who were physically active had lower CRP and IL6 levels at the start of the study. The lower levels remained steady over the 10-year follow-up with those who continued to be physically active.

Hamer explains that the lower CRP and IL6 levels are associated with lower risk of heart disease. Apparently the physical activity lowered their risk.

About 49 percent of the participants achieved 2.5 hours per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity. As the participants entered into retirement, they increased the amount of physical activity, with up to 83 percent that were meeting the 2.5 hours per week goal.

It was not too late for the inactive to become active. The study found that the participants that moved from being inactive to active with their physical activity had also reduced their inflammatory markers at the follow-up test.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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