If you’ve reached middle age it’s still not too late to help reduce your risk of heart failure.

Researchers have found that engaging in aerobic exercise four to five days a week for two years can be what it takes to start to reverse decades of sedentary living.

Image: The Economist

The study, published in the journal Circulation looked at the hearts of adults aged 45-64 with no history of exercising regularly. The patients were broken up into two groups, one that participated in yoga, balance and strength training, and another that focused on aerobic exercise.

After two years the aerobic group saw an 18% improvement in their maximum oxygen intake during exercise and a 25% improvement in the “plasticity” in the left ventricular muscle of the heart. Both are signs of a healthier heart, reports BBC News.

The big takeaway is that researchers think exercise should be a part of everyone’s routine, the lead researcher in the group calling its importance akin to teeth brushing. And even if you’ve led a sedentary life up to this point, there’s still an opportunity to help correct it.