We all have heard that exercise is “good for you,” usually from those who are already there, fit and healthy. The good news is that it’s never too late.
Researchers at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine (IEEM), studied the hearts of 53 adults (45-64 years old) who had had no history of exercising regularly but were healthy.
Research has shown that sedentary behaviours – such as sitting or reclining for long periods of time – increase the risk of heart disease.
The study’s participants were divided into two groups, with one following an aerobic exercise routine that progressed in intensity over the two years and another doing yoga, balance training and weight training three times a week, also for two years.
The aerobic exercise group showed an 18% improvement in their maximum oxygen intake during exercise and a more than 25% improvement in “plasticity” in the left ventricular muscle of the heart – both markers of a healthier heart.
Alex Therrien, BBC News
The key to a healthier heart in middle age is the right dose of exercise, at the right time in life. We found what we believe to be the optimal dose of the right kind of exercise, which is four to five times a week, and the ‘sweet spot’ in time, when the heart risk from a lifetime of sedentary behaviour can be improved – which is late-middle age.
The result was a reversal of decades of a sedentary lifestyle on the heart for most of the study participants.
Dr Benjamin Levine, IEEM
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