Global Health

You can reverse decades of inactivity and protect your heart, finds new research

A woman jogs along the Charles River on an early spring evening in Boston, Massachusetts April 3, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT)

Engaging in aerobic exercise can help you reverse your risk of heart failure, even after years of neglect. Image: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Emily Price
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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.

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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.

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