The reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease in older women is determined not by the amount of time one is sedentary, but rather by how much time is spent performing physical activity, according to research.

“The study shows how important it is to encourage more physical activity. We are not talking slow everyday pace, but at least one brisk walk or other physical activity requiring some exertion,” says Andreas Nilsson, researcher at Örebro University.

In their study, published in PLOS ONE, Nilsson, along with colleagues Britta Wåhlin-Larsson and Fawzi Kadi, examined the physical activity and health of 120 participating women.

The participants had a medical examination prior to the study’s start, and then, over the course of 1 week, used an accelerometer to measure their physical activity.

The results may well apply to other groups since they are in line with a meta-analysis of previous research based on a million adult men and women, which indicated that physical activity rather than sedentary behavior affects the risk of mortality, per the release.

“Our study points in the same direction—that the negative health effects of a sedentary lifestyle decrease with the extent of physical activity,” states Kadi, in the release.

This means that if one person is jogging while another is only doing less strenuous activities, the first person runs a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease than the second—regardless of the extent of their sedentary activities.

“Getting up once in a while is naturally a good thing, but doing more exercise is better for our health,” Nilsson concludes, in the release.

[Source(s): Örebro Universitet, Science Daily]