According to a study by the European Society of Cardiology, it's never too to get active.
The study included over 30,000 patients with coronary heart disease and followed up with them after about seven years. Participants were given questionnaires and classified as active or inactive at the two time points. They were divided into four groups according to their activity status at baseline and follow-up: inactive over time, active over time, increased activity over time and decreased activity over time. Definitions of active and inactive varied but were in line with typical recommendations: at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity, 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity, or a combination.
The average age of the study participants was 62.5 years old and 34% of study participants were women.
The researchers examined the risks of all-cause death and death from cardiovascular disease according to the four groups. Compared to patients who were inactive over time, the risk of all-cause death was 50% lower in those who were active over time, 45% lower in those who became active later, and 20% lower in those who had been active but became inactive.
"The results show that continuing an active lifestyle over the years is associated with the greatest longevity. However, patients with heart disease can overcome prior years of inactivity and obtain survival benefits by taking up exercise later in life. On the other hand, the benefits of activity can be weakened or even lost if activity is not maintained. The findings illustrate the benefits to heart patients of being physically active, regardless of their previous habits," said Dr. Nathalia Gonzalez of the University of Bern, Switzerland.