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Physical Exercise Helps Keep Your Heart Beating Normally

August 25, 2014

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According to new research in the Journal of the American Heart Association, post-menopausal women who increase their physical activity reduce their risk to irregular, life-threatening heartbeats.

The research shows that women who are physically active reduce their risk to atrial fibrillation (AF) by 10% as compared to women who weren’t as active, even if they are obese.

Less Rest, More Work Means a Healthier Heart

“We found the more physically active the women were, the less likely it was that they would develop atrial fibrillation,” said Marco V. Perez, M.D., lead author of the study and independent instructor in cardiovascular medicine and director of the Inherited Arrhythmia Clinic at the Stanford University School of Medicine, in Stanford, Calif.

“Also, the more obese the women were, the more they benefited from having greater degrees of physical activity.”

This new research countermands the previous thoughts that physical activity increases the risk of AF.

In a study that followed 81,000 women over 11 years, researchers found that women who spent the equivalent of 30 minutes walking 6 days a week displayed a 10% increase in resistance to AF, versus women who spent less than 30 minutes walking over 2 days of the week.

Women who engaged in strenuous physical activity also had a 9 percent lower risk of developing AF. This would be the equivalent of running for 2 hours per week.

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