The ability to run fast in middle age may be the top predictor of future heart disease.
New research from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas shows that 55-year-old men who can run an eight minute mile, regardless of other factors such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, smoking history and diabetes, have only a 10 percent lifetime risk of developing heart disease.
Guys who need 15 minutes or more to complete a mile have a 30 percent risk.
The research also found that fitness levels also helped to identify long-term risks in women. Following 66,000 men and women ages 20 to 90 for 36 years (or until they died), researchers found that looking at fitness levels in addition to other traditional risk factors significantly improved the ability to predict lifetime risk.
On one hand, this isn’t new information, but the idea that staying fit does more for cardiovascular health than focusing on cholesterol levels or even blood pressure is pretty interesting. Definitely good motivation to get to the gym!