benefits of exercise on the heart

Benefits of Exercise on the Heart: Too Late to Start?

We frequently highlight the benefits of exercise on the heart. But what if you haven’t been taking the advice to heart — is it too late to start?

MedPage previously reported that age should not get in the way of fitness. The post notes that “individuals in good health despite a sedentary lifestyle still benefit from initiating an exercise routine in middle age, according to a randomized study.”

For workplace wellness leaders who seek evidence to present to reluctant participants, the study makes clear that age should not be an excuse.

The study is published in Circulation and titled “Associations of Fitness, Physical Activity, Strength, and Genetic Risk With Cardiovascular Disease: Longitudinal Analyses in the UK Biobank Study.”

The authors write: “Observational studies have shown inverse associations among fitness, physical activity, and cardiovascular disease. However, little is known about these associations in individuals with elevated genetic susceptibility for these diseases.”

Now the New York Times adds to the discussion with a new post: “Exercise Makes the Aging Heart More Youthful.”

The post states: “For lifelong heart health, start exercising early in life and keep exercising often — ideally, at least four times a week, according to a remarkable series of recent studies involving hundreds of people and their hearts.”

“But even if you have neglected to exercise in recent years and are now middle-aged, it is not too late. The same research shows that you still can substantially remodel your heart and make it more youthful by starting to work out in midlife, provided you exercise often enough.”

The post cites a number of studies that emphasize the fact that exercise — even if you haven’t done it previously — is beneficial. And that better late than never is a good mantra.

Said Dr. Benjamin Levine, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Dallas: “It is a commitment. But I tell people to think of exercise as part of personal hygiene, like brushing their teeth. It should be something we do as a matter of course to keep ourselves healthy.”