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  health > seniors > story pageAIDSAlternative MedicineCancerDiet & FitnessHeartMenSeniorsWomen

Regular walking cuts men's heart attack risk in half

Walking
Since his heart surgery, Joe Giordana has started walking for exercise.  

July 5, 1999
Web posted at: 5:45 p.m. EDT (2145 GMT)

(CNN) -- A new study says daily walking may dramatically cut the risk of heart attack in older men.

Research reported in the American Heart Association journal, Circulation, found that men ages 71 to 93 who walked two miles a day cut their risk of suffering a heart attack in half.

For every extra half-mile they walked, the chances of a first heart attack dropped another 15 percent.

"It helps lower the bad cholesterol, raise the good cholesterol levels," says cardiologist Dr. Laurence Sperling. "It also protects from arrhythmia or sudden death. And also exercise helps favorably thin the blood out a little bit, and so it favorably helps the clotting system.

Joe Giordano, 72, walks two to three miles a day.

"I notice a physical difference and a psychological difference, and the psychological difference is even more important than the physical," he says.

In 1997, Joe had an angioplasty to clear a blocked artery, and for the past year he has been on a strict walking program. His doctors tell him his health is improving, and he says he feels great.

"I can walk faster -- I can actually jog, and I can do it at an increased elevation on the treadmill, which I couldn't do when I first started," he says.

Researchers say don't wait until you are in your 70s to start regularly exercising, since the study findings may extend to younger men as well as women.

Food & Health Correspondent Holly Firfer contributed to this report.



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