Exercise and Your Heart

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Story Updated: Aug 22, 2014

Another good reason for women to make exercise a regular part of their schedule. Physical activity may cut your risk for developing a type of irregular heartbeat -- atrial fibrillation -- as you get older.

Researchers included more than 81,000 women ages 50 to 79 in the study, which was published the Journal of the American Heart Association. At the start, all were asked how often they walked outside for more than 10 minutes and how often they exercised hard enough to break a sweat. After an average of 11 and a half years of follow-up, the most physically active women had a 10 percent lower risk of developing AFib compared to those who didn't walk for at least 10 minutes once a week or engage in exercise to raise heart rate or break a sweat. Moderately active women had at least a 6 percent lower risk and those who engaged in strenuous exercise had a 9 percent lower risk. The researchers also found that the more obese the women were, the more they benefited from having greater degrees of physical activity.

They concluded that increasing physical activity levels may be an effective method for prevention of AFib in older women, especially those who are obese.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with news you can use for healthier living.

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