Regular exercise can reverse aging heart problems, study reports
A new study shows that exercise can help middle aged people reverse some of the health problems that come with an aging heart.

Joseph Scalise | Apr 19, 2018

A group of researchers from the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine found that middle aged people can reverse or reduce their risk of heart failure through consistent exercise, a study published in the journal Circulationreports.

In today's world, many people live sedentary lifestyles where they sit or recline for long periods of time. Past studies have shown that such behavior can increase the risk of heart disease, but the new research reveals that such problems can also be reversed.

In the study, scientists analyzed the hearts of 53 adults ages 45 to 64 who were healthy but had no history of regular exercise. The participants were split into two groups. One followed an aerobic exercise routine that progressed in intensity, while the other did a yoga, balance training, and weight training routine three times a week. Both regimes took place over a two year period.

After the study, theaerobic exercise group showed an 18 percent improvement in their maximum oxygen intake, as well as a more than 25 percent improvement in the "plasticity" of their left ventricular muscle. However, such benefits were not noted in the yoga group. As a result, the more rigorous exercise yielded better results.

"The key to a healthier heart in middle age is the right dose of exercise, at the right time in life," said study co-author Benjamin Levine, a researcher at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, according toBBC News. "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."

The data revealsthat exercise is an key part of personal hygiene. Not only does it promote better overall health, but it may also be able to delay cardiovascular aging. Many middle aged people think that it is too late to get in shape or turn their health around, but the research shows that there is still hope.

While the study was thorough, there were certain limitations to the research. For example, the volunteers were willing to participate in an intensive exercise regimen, which may not be the case for the general population. In addition, most of the participants were white, and the benefits may not be the same across all racial groups.

Even so, there is no doubt that exercise is beneficial. Most research focuses on how it could improve health or prevent certain problems, but reversing issues is important as well.

"I think people should be able to do this as part of their personal hygiene - just like brushing your teeth and taking a shower," added Levine, in a statement.

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