Being active thrice a week is enough to keep the heart healthy, says a new study.
In a study reported in journal Circulation, engaging in strenuous physical activity through walking, gardening and cycling two or three times a week lowered risk of heart disease, blood clots and strokes by 20%.
Researchers couldn't find any added benefit with an increase in the physical activity.
Nearly 1.1 million women, enrolled in the Million Women study were included for the analysis.
The women, aged around 56 at the beginning of the study, were followed for nine years. Researchers recorded their physical activity just before the study and after a gap of three years. Details of hospital admissions and deaths were collected.
Results showed that physical activity provided added benefits to the heart.
"Inactive middle-aged women should try to do some activity regularly," lead author of the study Dr Miranda Armstrong, a physical activity epidemiologist at the University of Oxford in UK said in a news release. "However, to prevent heart disease, stroke and blood clots, women don't need to do very frequent activity as this seems to provide little additional benefit above that of moderately frequent activity."
Spending some time for physical activity has been known to protect against heart failure, Parkinson's disease, breast and colon cancer, diabetes, depression and brain shrinkage. On the other hand, evidence shows that prolonged sitting and a sedentary lifestyle can kill a person early and increase the risk of disability in old age.
Physical inactivity, the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, kills nearly 3.2 million people every year. A guideline from the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adults aged between 18 and 64 to get, either a moderate to intensive aerobic activity of 150 minutes or a vigorous aerobic physical activity of 75 minutes, a week.