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Healthy Heart Reports

Exercise In Later Life Prevents Heart Attacks

A study from India shows that former athletes who continue to exercise all their lives are far less likely to suffer heart attacks than former athletes who do not continue to exercise.

Compared to sedentary former athletes, active older athletes weigh less, have less body fat, lower total cholesterol, bad LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and ratio of total cholesterol to good HDL cholesterol than sedentary older athletes, all signs of decreased risk for heart attacks. Surprisingly, sedentary older athletes have higher cholesterol and triglyceride levels than sedentary older non-athletes. It takes a lot of muscle to be a good athlete. Insulin, insulin-like growth factors and growth hormones give people large muscles and bones to make them stronger. However, these same hormones also cause the body to store fat. So former athletes who stop exercising are more likely to be fat and have higher cholesterols because of these same hormones.

Coronary artery disease risk factors & their association with physical activity in older athletes. Journal of Cardiovascular Risk, 2002, Vol 9, Iss 6, pp 383-392. SK Dey, C Ghosh, P Debray, M Chatterjee. Dey SK, Sports Author India, Netaji Subhas Eastern Ctr, Salt Lake City, Calcutta 700098, W Bengal, INDIA


Copyright 2003
Dr. Mirkin's opinions and the references cited are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.

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