Couch potatoes take heart! A little exercise may make up for all those years of sitting around. A new study in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation finds that starting exercise in middle age can work to reduce or even reverse the risk of heart failure.
Doctors found that as a little as two years of consistent, aerobic exercise can have a dramatic effect on the health of a previously sedentary middle-aged person’s heart. In fact, the researchers say the effort can be almost as good for your heart’s flexibility as being a pro athlete.
Researchers already knew that a lifetime of exercising 4 to 5 days per week helps keep your heart healthy. But their new evidence suggests that even a person who shunned exercise for decades can change their ways in mid-life and become part of the heart-healthy crew.
According to Forbes.com, “The researchers studied 52 middle-aged adults (45-64) who had led sedentary lives but were otherwise healthy. They split them into two groups: One half of the participants, the “committed exercise” group, did moderate- and high-intensity exercises as well as resistance training four-five days per week….The other group did balance and flexibility training two-three days/week, and were dubbed the “casual” exercise group.”
“After two years, the results were clear. Those who had worked out at least four days a week had healthier hearts and arteries, and were fitter as measured by oxygen uptake. Those who did the yoga and weight sessions did not become fitter. “This study demonstrates that prolonged (two years) exercise training, initiated in middle age, can forestall the deleterious effects of sedentary aging by reducing cardiac stiffness and increasing fitness,” the researchers wrote. Those who did the yoga and weight sessions did not become fitter.
Today.com quoted Dr. Benjamin Levine, director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Resources and the University of Texas UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, as saying the volunteers all did exercises they chose and that they could stick with.
“We are quite careful to actually diversify the kinds of exercise they do,” he said. “In order to minimize overuse injuries and keep people fresh, we like to encourage diversification,” he added. “First, it has to be something they have access to, second it has to be something they enjoy and third it has to be alternating impact and low impact. It could be treadmill exercise. It could be cycling. It could be an elliptical. It could be swimming.”
Numerous other online publications weighed in on this new study. If you’s like to read more, click on one of the links below.
This new study gives hope to this who may have thought a chance at a healthy heart had passed them by. Let us know what you think about it. Is this the salvation couch potatoes have been dreaming about? And would you be willing to commit two years to get your health back? Driving conversations around the health issues making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!