Sometimes it seems like almost everyone over 50 is taking a statin to help lower cholesterol. While these drugs help many people, a new study suggests that statins alone aren't the answer to lowering the risk of disease as you get older.
Researchers from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C., looked at the medical records of more than 10,000 veterans and found that physical fitness was critical in decreasing the chances that people would get heart disease – even for those who were taking statins.
Death rates were lowest for those who were taking statins and were physically fit. But those who were physically fit and did not take statins were half as likely to die as those who were taking statins and were not fit.
The bottom line is that there is no substitute for being fit. It's important to stay active as you get older even if you are on statins. That means at least 45 minutes a day of vigorous walking or other activity that gets your heart going.