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Keep active. But stay strong too.

You probably know that the recommended minimum amount of exercise for staying healthy is 30 minutes — at moderate intensity — five days a week. But for older women there seems to be more to it.

The media this week is reporting on a Canadian study which used data from more than 130,000 adults aged 35-70 in 17 countries to confirm that 30 minutes a day of any kind of moderate activity reduces the risk of heart disease.

Moderate activity can include raking leaves, housework and doing errands. You don’t need a gym.

And this positive impact occurs irrespective of age, gender, weight, smoking or chronic disease, statistically at least, when you’re studying a big group of people. Across the board, 30 minutes a day makes a difference.

We also know that it’s not just heart disease that’s affected. Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, depression and anxiety, and insomnia all benefit from that amount of activity.

Yet most Australian adults — around 60% of us — don’t manage the minimum. At a time when we’ve got an ageing population and huge (and growing) demand on medical resources, if we could turn that around we’d transform the medical system in this country, not to mention the federal budget. 

But another interesting study was also published recently. This is Norwegian research on around 2500 women in their 70s. Their health was tracked for up to 16 years. 

It showed that despite following the ‘30 minutes a day’ guideline, women who did poorly on tests of upper and lower body strength were more likely to die from heart disease — or anything else.

This link between strength and mortality shows up again and again in research on older people.

So yes, keep active. Walk. Work around the house and yard. Do something for 30 minutes a day. But stay strong too. 

(Of course, you don’t have to look like Ernestine Shepherd or do what she does to be strong. But it’s hard to resist using a photo of her. She lives in Baltimore and started body building in her 50s. Now she’s 81.)

Photo Source: Space Coast Daily

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Thursday, September 28, 2017 | Rhonda Anderson