New Delhi: With age, the body tends to become more fragile and working out on those heavy-duty exercise equipment is not exactly feasible for older adults.
The risk of heart failure – a condition in which the heart becomes too weak to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs – also rises with age.
A study has, however, found an effective alternative of exercising for older women who find it difficult to go to the gym – brisk walking. This will also ward off their risk of developing heart failure.
Walking, as a form of exercise, is considered one of the best workouts and is recommended by experts and doctors across the world.
The study found that women above 60 years of age were three times more prone to heart failure risk.
The paper presented in at the American College of Cardiology's 67th Annual Scientific Session noted that post-menopausal women who walk for 40 minutes or more at a time had a 21 to 25 percent lower risk of heart failure than those taking shorter walks.
Women walking at an average or fast pace showed a 26 and 38 percent lower risk of heart failure, respectively, compared with women who walked at a casual pace.
"We already know that physical activity lowers the risk of heart failure, but there may be a misconception that simply walking isn't enough," said Somwail Rasla, cardiology student at Saint Vincent Hospital in Massachusetts.
"Our analysis shows walking is not only an accessible form of exercise but almost equal to all different types of exercise that have been studied before in terms of lowering heart failure risk" Rasla added.
The study examined the benefits of walking by parsing the effects of walking frequency, duration and speed in 89,000 women over a more than 10-year period, between 50 to 79 years of age.
Researchers also assessed the women's overall energy expenditure from walking by combining all three of these variables into a calculation known as Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET).
Those in the highest tertile for MET per week were 25 percent less likely to develop heart failure compared with those in the lowest tertile.
(With IANS inputs)