Physical inactivity is one of the risk factors linked to coronary heart disease (CHD), the leading cause of mortality among women in the U.S. Previous studies have estimated the rates of CHD among active people are half what the rates are for sedentary people. Most of these studies, however, have not included women, and none have measured the intensities needed to achieve results. Studies, including one published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Mar., 2012), clearly demonstrate the link between even moderate physical activity and reduced CHD rates.
The study followed 39,372 healthy females ages 45 and older from 2002 to 2011. Examining the frequency, duration and intensity levels of their exercise programs, it found that active women experience significantly lower CHD rates than inactive women. Vigorous physical activity was not necessary to reduce rates: simply walking at a mild pace for as little as one hour a week predicted a lowered risk of CHD (50 percent). Even women who had high cholesterol levels, smoked or were overweight were found to benefit from the lowered risks of CHD associated with physical activity, whether light, moderate or high intensity. These findings are encouraging for your members who work out regularly, even those who simply walk on a treadmill.