Recently McMaster University released the results of a study they did on cardiovascular fitness in preschool aged children.
"Physical activity in early childhood may have an impact on cardiovascular health later in life, according to new research from McMaster University, where scientists followed the activity levels of hundreds of preschoolers over a period of years."
"The study, named "Health Outcomes and Physical activity in Preschoolers," published today in the journal Pediatrics, is the first to demonstrate the benefits of physical activity on blood vessel health in preschoolers."
"Many of us tend to think cardiovascular disease hits in older age, but arteries begin to stiffen when we are very young," explains Nicole Proudfoot, a graduate student in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University and lead author on the study."
"It's important to start any kind of preventative measures early. We need to ensure small children have many opportunities to be active to keep their hearts and blood vessels as healthy as possible," she says.
"The researchers calculated cardiovascular fitness by measuring how long the children could last on a treadmill test and how fast their heart rates recovered after exercise. They measured arterial stiffness by how fast their pulse traveled through their body and used ultrasound imaging to measure the stiffness of the carotid artery. They also measured blood pressure."
"They tracked physical activity each year by having the children wear an accelerometer around their waist for one week, allowing researchers to determine the amount and intensity of their activity each day."
"The researchers determined that while arteries stiffen over time, the process is slower in young children who have been more active. Those children also showed more endurance on the treadmill, suggesting they had better cardiovascular fitness, and their heart rates came down faster after exercise. While the findings showed total physical activity had favourable effects on cardiovascular health, more intense physical activity was more beneficial."