Heart Aging Reversed by Exercise
Exercise can reverse damage to sedentary, aging hearts and help prevent risk of future heart failure — if it’s enough exercise, and if it’s begun in time, according to a new study by cardiologists at UT Southwestern and Texas Health Resources.
In the current study, researchers wanted to know if exercise can restore the heart’s elasticity in previously sedentary individuals — especially if begun in late middle age. Previous studies from Dr. Levine’s research program have shown substantial improvements in cardiac compliance in young individuals after a year of training, but surprisingly little change if the training was started after age 65. Learn more about the study.
Is Running Really Good for the Heart?
Running, or any kind high-intensity exercise, puts a strain on the heart muscle, as it does on lung tissue, and leg and arm muscles,” said Neel Chokshi, MD, an assistant professor of Clinical Cardiovascular Medicine, and medical director of the Penn Sports Cardiology and Fitness Program. “While evidence suggests an increased risk of cardiac events during high intensity exercise, the overall likelihood of such events is ultimately very, very low. There is more far research to support running and exercise as a benefit to heart health, rather than a detriment.
As a paper from the American College of Cardiology’s (ACC’s) Sports and Exercise Cardiology Leadership Council points out, “the public media has embraced the idea that exercise may harm the heart and disseminated this message, thereby diverting attention away from the benefits of exercise as a potent intervention for the primary and secondary prevention of heart disease.” Read more
Physical Activity Reduces Heart Disease
Being physically inactive sitting for long periods of time can be so harmful to your health that experts sometimes call it “sitting disease.” In fact, worldwide, physical inactivity is estimated to cause some 3.2 million deaths a year. Physical Activity is a key factor in preventing heart disease.
If you are already moderately active, that is enough to make a positive impact on your health, said the researchers. If you’re sedentary and become more active-even by taking several short walks around your home each day-you can improve your health significantly, and lower your risk of heart disease, the researchers said. SOURCE American Geriatrics Society
Walking Pace Linked to Heart Disease
A team of researchers at the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, UK — a partnership between Leicester’s Hospitals, the University of Leicester and Loughborough University — has concluded that middle-aged people who report that they are slow walkers could be at higher risk of heart disease compared to the general population.
The study found that self-reported walking pace was strongly linked to an individual’s objectively measured exercise tolerance, further suggesting walking pace is a good measure of overall physical fitness. Therefore, self-reported walking pace could be used to identify individuals who have low physical fitness and high mortality risk that would benefit from targeted physical exercise interventions. Source: University of Leicester