Physical Activity For Heart Health Doesn’t Have To Be A Burden

Dr. Miranda Armstrong Interview with:
Dr Miranda Armstrong
Physical Activity Epidemiologist
Cancer Epidemiology Unit University of Oxford
Oxford, UK

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Armstrong: Physical activity has generally been associated with reduced risk of heart disease. However, there is limited evidence on the associations between the frequency and durations of various activities with stroke and blood clots, especially in middle-aged women.

This is a very large study of 1.1 million middle-aged women, which confirms the benefits of moderate activity for reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Further to this, it shows that benefits may be more wide ranging than previously thought as the risk of blood clots was also lower in women reporting moderate activity when compared to inactive women. We found little evidence to suggest that activity more frequent than a few times per week provided further benefits in relation to these diseases.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Armstrong: Becoming active to improve heart health does not have to be a burden for inactive middle-aged women. In our study, moderate levels of activity were associated with lower risks than inactivity, and more frequent activity did not reduce risks further. Activities may not necessarily need to be sports or exercise at the gym, because even everyday activities such as gardening and walking were associated with significantly lower risks in these women.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Armstrong: I lead a program of work on physical activity and health based in the Million Women Study, a large study of UK women coordinated from the University of Oxford. One of our next projects will be to investigate associations between physical activity levels and mortality from these diseases.


Frequent Physical Activity May not Reduce Vascular Disease Risk as Much as Moderate Activity: Large Prospective Study of UK Women Miranda E.G. Armstrong, Jane Green, Gillian K. Reeves, Valerie Beral, and Benjamin J. Cairns

Circulation. 2015;CIRCULATIONAHA.114.010296published online before print February 16 2015, doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.0102 Interview with: Dr Miranda Armstrong M.Phil. (2015). Physical Activity For Heart Health Doesn’t Have To Be A Burden