How to keep your heart healthy

How to keep your heart healthy

Over time the heart becomes stiffer and less flexible; with age we lose the efficiency of our hearts and in many people these effects can be seen in the 50s or early 60s.

There is one way to prevent this happening though, and you won’t be surprised to hear that it’s through exercise.

When the heart is young, it’s pliable, much like a rubber band. But if left to its own devices then it will become dry and brittle. An inactive heart can lead to problems such as cardiovascular disease.

Thankfully the effects of inactivity on the heart can actually be reversed if you take up exercise and get in shape during midlife.

What does the research show?

Dr. Ben Levine, a sports cardiologist at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre, undertook a study focusing on 53 individuals over two years.

Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group undertook a program nonaerobic exercise which included balance training, yoga, and weight training, three times a week. The other group had a personal trainer and undertook moderate to high-intensity aerobic exercise for at least four days a week.

After two years, the group doing the higher-intensity exercise saw dramatic improvements in heart health.

Those who took part in the lower intensity exercise found that their heart health didn’t change.

Stressing the heart forces it to function more efficiently and so more intensive exercise in middle age will help to reverse the effects of inactivity.

So don’t wait until your heart is getting tired, keep active right though middle age and ensure that you stay healthy.


The Author

Laura Briggs

Laura is a fitness writer who loves running, strength training, Pilates and Yoga. When she's got time to herself you might find her knitting, or in the kitchen trying out an elaborate recipe - healthy of course!.


Mark J.
25 June 2018

Mark J.

It has been brought home to me by a contemporary (early 30s) having a heart attack. Fortunately he is going to be ok but suddenly all this is quite real.

Lucy C.
15 June 2018

Lucy C.

'in our fifties' seems ages away - but my friends who are in that group tell me that it goes a lot quicker than you'd think. I am conscious that my cardio exercise has slipped recently, this is the kick to do something about it.

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