When older men gain more from ex­er­cise than women

Hinckley Times - - NEWS -

REG­U­LAR ex­er­cise may be more ben­e­fi­cial for mid­dle-aged men than post-menopausal women, re­searchers have con­cluded.

Lough­bor­ough Univer­sity ex­perts ex­am­ined the ef­fects of reg­u­lar ex­er­cise train­ing on the blood ves­sels of 12 men and post-menopausal women.

Blood pres­sure and ar­te­rial stiff­ness were as­sessed be­fore and one hour after a brisk walk. The team’s pre­lim­i­nary find­ings sug­gest that ar­te­rial stiff­ness – a risk fac­tor for heart disease – is higher in women com­pared with men of a sim­i­lar age.

A sin­gle bout of brisk walk­ing im­proved ar­te­rial stiff­ness and blood pres­sure in both groups, but ar­te­rial stiff­ness re­mained higher in women.

Re­search has shown reg­u­lar ex­er­cise helps re­duce the stiff­en­ing of the ar­ter­ies, which in turn low­ers a per­son’s risk of devel­op­ing heart or cir­cu­la­tory disease. How­ever, the blood ves­sels of men and women ap­pear to adapt dif­fer­ently to reg­u­lar ex­er­cise, with post-menopausal women demon­strat­ing fewer ben­e­fits than men.

The re­searchers are now look­ing at whether daily folic acid sup­ple­ments could help older women re­duce their risk by re­lax­ing the blood ves­sels and re­duc­ing strain on the heart.

Jen Craig, the doc­toral stu­dent ucar­ry­ing out the re­search said: “Reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity is as­so­ci­ated with lower risk of car- dio­vas­cu­lar disease.

“How­ever, reg­u­lar ex­er­cise does not seem to ben­e­fit the blood ves­sels of post-menopausal women as much as it does their male coun­ter­parts.

“If we are to help women to de­crease their risk of heart disease, we need to con­sider al­ter­na­tive strate­gies that may en­able th­ese women to max­imise their ben­e­fits from en­gag­ing in reg­u­lar ex­er­cise.”

Pro­fes­sor Jeremy Pear­son, as­so­ciate med­i­cal di­rec­tor at the Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion, said: “This re­search adds to our un­der­stand­ing of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and heart disease as we get older.

“If you’re more phys­i­cally ac­tive you give your­self the best chance of a heart-healthy re­tire­ment. Although post-menopausal women don’t see quite the same ex­er­cise ben­e­fits as men, stay­ing ac­tive will still re­duce their over­all risk of devel­op­ing heart disease.”

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