Los Angeles, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/21/2013 -- Older women who refrain from smoking and engage in regular physical activity may have a substantially lower risk of developing disabilities later in life than peers with less-healthy habits.
Research done in the UK found that women between the ages of 60-70 whose behaviors included smoking, drinking, and lack of physical activity could increase their risk of developing disabling conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and heart disease – the number one killer of women as of a 2012 report.
More than 2,000 UK women were surveyed as part of the study, answering questions regarding smoking, alcohol consumption, and diet and exercise habits. Seven years later, the same group of women was surveyed to find out who, if any, had developed disabling health problems.
Women who never exercised during that time were twice as likely to develop arthritis and pain while walking as those who did engage in moderate to high intensity activity. The same group was also twice as likely to develop heart disease as those who were active during the time span.
Those who smoked during or prior to the time of the study developed heart disease at twice the rate of those who never smoked in their life. And while the study found no links on the effects of good nutrition between those who engaged in smoking, drinking, and lack of activity than those who maintained a healthy diet and exercised moderately, the associations between the effects of smoking and a sedentary lifestyle and developing debilitating conditions were obvious.
Though the longer one maintains a healthy lifestyle the lower their risk of developing debilitating diseases, experts from the study did maintain it is never too late to begin making changes. “I would certainly advocate that healthy lifestyle choices should be life long,” Gerald Pankratz of the University of Wisconsin, Madison advised, “but I would never say it is too late to make a change.”
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