How Exercise Reverses Heart Damage
A new study from UT Southwestern Medical Center in the US has found exercise can reverse heart damage and prevent heart failure – so long as it’s done early and regularly enough.
in Circulation journal, the study
revealed people need to start exercising before age 65, which is when the heart keeps some of its plasticity and can ‘remodel’ itself.
How much exercise is ‘enough’? At least four to five times a week, for around 30 minutes.
“Based on a series of studies performed by our team over the past 5 years, this 'dose' of exercise has become my prescription for life,” said
senior author Dr Benjamin Levine.
“I think people should be able to do this as part of their personal hygiene – just like brushing your teeth and taking a shower.”
How was the discovery made?
A total of 53 people took part in the study. One group did two years of supervised exercise, while a control group did yoga and balance training.
The people who exercised had an 18% improvement in maximum oxygen uptake. They also experienced more than 25% enhanced heart elasticity.
"When the muscle stiffens, you get high pressure and the heart chamber doesn't fill as well with blood. In its most severe form, blood can back up into the lungs. That's when heart failure develops,” Dr Levine said.
Fitting exercise into your day
This latest study shows a little exercise, done regularly, is key to staying healthy as we age. For personalised health and fitness advice, a dietician
, or personal trainer
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