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  • Writer's pictureAngela Hancock

It’s never too late to start exercising for heart health

A client of mine believed that at 42, she was too old to begin a body transformation. She proved herself very wrong with her incredible success.

People have these beliefs and stories they tell themselves about being too old, too unfit, too busy, etc to achieve their goals and now we have research to prove that the only thing getting in your own way – is yourself!

If you are worried about the health of your heart but you haven’t ever been a regular exerciser, you’re in luck. New research shows that starting an exercise program, even in middle age can still help keep the heart young and reduce the risk of heart disease.

We know very well that regular exercise is one of the best methods for overall health. In a new study, published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, researchers tested whether closely following a two-year exercise program started in middle age would affect measures of heart aging.

Many older people have some level of heart stiffness related to normal aging. However, increasing stiffness is a concern when it occurs in middle-aged, sedentary people because it is a marker of future risk for heart failure.

A sedentary lifestyle causes your heart muscle to become stiff and weak over time. This study tested people who had not previously engaged in regular exercise to see if the effects of their sedentary lifestyle on their hearts could be reduced or even reversed.

Results from the study show that two years of consistent exercise training reduced cardiac stiffness and increased cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance. There was a significant increase in fitness, 18 percent on average, and a decrease in left ventricle stiffness in the exercise group compared to the control group.

The researchers concluded that regular exercise training, even when started in middle age, can have heart health benefits and offer protection against the risk of future heart failure attributed to sedentary aging.

The increase in fitness and decrease in stiffness from regular cardiovascular exercise gave the participants’ hearts a more youthful level of function, even though they had been sedentary before the study.

Key takeaways from this research show exercise has beneficial effects for heart health, even if you start in middle age.

Doctors recommend that we include 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, and two strength-training sessions per week for overall benefits.

If you are new to exercise or have any health concerns, drop me a message and I can help get you on your way to a youthful heart – among other benefits!

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