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Exercise May Deter Heart Rhythm Problem

Exercise may help older women to avoid an abnormal heart rhythm, a new study suggests. The study focused on atrial fibrillation. In people with this irregular rhythm, the upper chambers of the heart quiver instead of contracting in a regular pattern. This can increase the risk of blood clots and stroke. The new study included more than 80,000 women. When the study began, the women were 50 to 79 years old. Researchers asked them how often they walked outside or exercised enough to sweat. Eleven years later, the most active women had a 10% lower rate of atrial fibrillation than those who walked less than 10 minutes a week. The most active women did exercise equal to 3 hours of brisk walking or 2 hours of slow cycling each week. The reduction in risk was similar for women who got more strenuous exercise -- about 2 hours of running a week.

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