How to Keep Your Aging Heart Healthy
First the bad news: by our mid to late 50s, portions of our heart muscle have begun to atrophy and weaken, and our major cardiac arteries have stiffened, raising the risk for future health problems, including heart failure.
Now the good news: three recent studies indicate that exercising 4-5 times per week consistently helps keep your heart young & healthy!
Here are the details:
In this study, researchers found that the heart muscles of older people who exercised less than three times a week were shrunken and less powerful than in younger people.
But the hearts of those who'd exercised at least four times a week throughout their adult lives looked and functioned much like those of people decades younger!
And in this study of about 100 older adults (mostly in their 70s) researchers found that the cardiac arteries of sedentary people and casual exercisers, were stiffer than in younger people.
But the major cardiac arteries of the long-term committed exercisers were relatively flexible, youthful and healthy!
The take home message here is: if you're not yet middle-aged, the time to take care of your heart health is now. Build a consistent habit of exercising at least four times a week and your heart will thank you later.
But what if you're middle aged, or older, and have not been exercising consistently throughout your life?
There's good news for you too!
This study had a group of sedentary middle-aged men & women start exercising four or five times a week. (They did at least one HIIT workout per week and other moderate workouts that lasted at least 30 minutes.)
After two years, not only were the exercisers more fit, their hearts were stronger, less stiff & more youthful!
No matter what your age or exercise history is, it’s never too late to start a consistent fitness routine.
And for your heart to reap the full benefits, you need to exercise 4-5 times a week & stay consistent for years.
Think of exercise as part of your personal hygiene, like brushing your teeth. It's just something you do without question to keep yourself healthy.