A study, published in the journal Circulation says that people into late middle age can reverse or reduce the risk of heart failure by exercising. But this exercise includes two years of aerobic, four to five days a week.
In this study, the researchers studied the hearts of 53 adults aged 45-64 who were healthy but had no history of regular exercise.
The research found out that sedentary behaviors – such as sitting or reclining for long periods of time – increase the risk of heart disease.
Researchers divided the participants 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 study shows that 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. On the other hand, there were no benefits seen in the second group.
Dr. Benjamin Levine, Founder, and Director, and a lead author of the study of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, a joint program between Texas Health Resources and UT Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, Texas, asserted, “The key to a healthier heart in middle age is the right dose of exercise, at the right time in life.”
He further added, “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 behavior can be improved – which is late-middle age.”
Though the study does not mention diet or other factors that can affect health, such as pollution, Dr. Siow added, “It needs to be taken into the context of a healthy lifestyle as well.”