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Exercise Later in Life Benefits Heart

A study from India showed 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

Checked 5/3/14

May 19th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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