Just 30 minutes of brisk walking five days a week can reduce risk of death from cardiovascular diseases, especially in women and those younger than 70 years of age, a new Argentinean study has claimed.
The study investigated the impact of various levels of physical activity on death from ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke and on total cardiovascular mortality in people aged 30 years and older.
Physical activity was categorised by metabolic equivalent tasks per minute per week (MET/minute/week), with 600 MET/min/week being equivalent to 30 minutes of brisk walking five days a week (ie 2.5 hours per week).
The researchers found that engaging in less than 600 MET/min/week was responsible for 17 per cent (7,278) of total cardiovascular deaths in Argentina in 2010, of which 3,941 occurred in men and 3,337 in women.
Doing less than 600 MET/min/week was responsible for 20 per cent (4,907) of deaths from IHD and 13 per cent (2,371) of stroke deaths.
“We found that low levels of physical activity had a big impact on cardiovascular deaths in Argentina, which suggests that interventions promoting exercise should be a priority. The effects were greater in women of all ages because they exercise less than men,” said Dr Roberto Peidro, a leading member of the Argentine Society of Cardiology.
“Our analysis suggests that engaging in at least 30 minutes of brisk walking five days a week would reduce cardiovascular mortality at any age, especially in women and those younger than 70 years of age.
“Our findings have public health implications and emphasise the importance of women in particular being more physically active,” said Peidro, who is also vice-president of the Argentine Foundation of Cardiology.