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Statin use 'may impact exercise rates'

The use of statins could lead to a reduction in physical activity, although the cause of this fall in exercise is unclear.

Research carried out by experts in the US found that the amount of exercise taken by older men taking the medication was less than in those who were not using statins, which are usually prescribed to reduce cholesterol levels.

With nearly one in three Americans taking statins and an already sedentary population, the study raises concerns about lower physical activity as a result of statins use.

Assistant professor at Oregon State University and lead author David Lee said: "We're trying to find ways to get older adults to exercise more, not less. It's a fairly serious concern if use of statins is doing something that makes people less likely to exercise."

He emphasised the importance of regular physical activity in preventing cardiovascular disease, maintaining a healthy weight and for wellbeing.

Although the research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, did not identify the reason behind the lower levels of physical activity in older men taking statins, Professor Lee noted that five to 30 per cent of those on the medication experience muscle pain.

The study is one of the longest of its kind and also suggested disruption of mitochondrial function in patients on statins could contribute to muscle weakness and fatigue.

It covered 3,071 men aged 65 and above from six regions of the US over almost seven years, finding levels of moderate physical activity were an average of 40 minutes lower among those taking statins over a week, with the sharpest drop identified among new users.

The research supports the findings of previous short-term analyses carried out regarding older adults and the medication, which comes in the form of a daily pill that lowers production of cholesterol in the liver.

Oxygen enriched air can help those planning to increase the amount of exercise they take by ensuring their muscles are well-fuelled for activity.

Posted by Stewart ElliottADNFCR-2960-ID-801727581-ADNFCR

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