Exercising is one of the most beneficial ways to keep a person healthy. A new study is now suggesting that exercising at least four to five days a week will not only keep a person in the best shape but also keep the heart from aging.
Young At Heart
The study, published in The Journal of Physiology, suggests that working out in this specific amount of time is essential in preventing heart and blood vessels from aging. As a person gets older arteries can stiffen, especially if they are inactive, which can lead to heart disease.
The Texas-based team analyzed the data collected from various studies and discovered that different types of exercises affect different sizes of arteries. Exercising two to three days a week for at least 30 minutes could help slow down aging for medium-sized arteries that supply blood to the head and the neck.
Exercising four to five days a week, however, would be helpful for the major or larger arteries that give blood to the chest and abdomen. The researchers were from the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, the John Peter Smith Health Network, and the Texas Christian University and University of North Texas Health Science Center.
A cross-sectional analysis was taken from 102 participants who were aged 60 years and older. The participants were sectioned into four different categories: sedentary, which consisted of 30-minute exercises per week for the past 25 years, casual, which were two to three sessions, committed exercisers with four to five sessions, and finally, master athletes with six to seven sessions.
The researchers noted the levels of stiffness in each participant's artery. They found that casual exercising kept the middle-sized arteries youthful, while those who were committed exercisers had younger arteries in the large arteries. Though these new findings were promising, the researchers stressed that the study was "limited" due to certain factors not being considered such as the person's diets and the type of exercise.
One of the authors of the study, Benjamin Levine from the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Dallas, noted that he was "excited" about exploring this study further and hopes that programs can be created to help keep the heart "youthful".
"Our current work is focusing on two years of training in middle-aged men and women, with and without risk factors for heart diseases, to see if we can reverse the aging of a heart and blood vessels by using the right amount of exercise at the right time," Levine stated.