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Another Reason to Boost Exercise with Age

Older adults who keep up or increase their exercise may have improvements in a measurement of the heart's electrical health. That's the conclusion of a study of 985 adults. Their average age was 71 when the study began. Everyone in the study wore a monitor to record the heart's rate and rhythm for 24 hours. People wore the monitor again for a day 5 years later. They also answered detailed questions about physical activity at the start of the study and 3 years later. Researchers focused on a measurement called heart-rate variability. This is the name for differences in the time between one heartbeat and the next. The heart rate tends to become less variable as people get older. But this study found better heart-rate variability among older adults who got more exercise. This was especially true for those who increased their exercise over time.

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