It is no surprise that there is a connection between exercise and heart health. What you may not know is that exercise is even useful later in age. New research is shedding light on how just 20 minutes of exercise each day between the ages of 70 and 75 can help to guard against heart disease later in life. Understanding how you can protect your heart as you age can go a long way towards contributing to a longer and healthier life. Here is what you need to know about the connection between exercise and heart health and what you can do to leverage the benefits of exercise.
Diving Into the Connection Between Exercise and Heart Health
Results of a new study published in the journal Heart is indicating that just 20 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise in what is defined as early old age (age 70 – 75) may help to stave off major heart disease by the time you reach the age of 80.
The researchers looked at over 3,000 Italians, detailing information such as hospital visits and deaths. The subjects were followed for seven years, in an attempt to isolate the effects of exercise on the heart as they aged.
What the scientists found is that increasing levels of physical activity with a commitment to maintaining a consistent exercise program over time were correlated to lower risks of cardiovascular disease. This correlation was found in both men and women.
The study’s observers were clear to point out that the results demonstrate that “movement is medicine.” This is because regular physical exercise is instrumental in boosting arterial blood flow and reducing the formation of blood clots.
Best Exercises for Health Health
A regular exercise program is essential for good heart health. Consistently moving the body improves lung function, lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, boosts the strength of the heart muscles, lowers high blood sugar and high triglycerides and much more.
While almost any exercise will deliver benefits to the heart, there are a few movements that may be better than others if guarding your heart is your primary goal. Aerobic exercise has long been considered to be the gold standard of exercise for the heart. This type of exercise strengthens your heart and lungs so that they learn to work more efficiently, reducing the overall strain on your body over time. Good aerobic exercises include running, jogging, walking, cycling, dancing, stair climbing and playing sports.
In addition to cardiovascular work, you also want to incorporate strength training into your regular exercise routine. You can build muscle through the use of free weights or machines, resistance bands or by using your own body weight.
Lastly, you also want to be purposeful about working stretching exercises into your daily routine. This type of movement will send your joints through a full range of motion, increasing flexibility in the process.
Specific Exercise for Older People to Enjoy
Although there is still a place for cardiovascular activity for older people, you may need to take a different approach depending on your individual health concerns and mobility. One of the best cardio exercises for older individuals is swimming. This type of exercise is distinguished by its low impact aerobic benefits and usefulness in alleviating joint and muscle pain.
Other good cardio exercise ideas for seniors include walking, dancing and low-impact group aerobic classes. Seniors will also greatly benefit from a weight training routine. This type of exercise will help to build strength and retain bone mass as you age.
When it comes to duration of exercise, most health experts will recommend a program that delivers 30 minutes of daily work. While it is acceptable to break this up into shorter bursts of activity throughout the day, a 30-minute continuous session is ideal.
How You Can Preserve Health Health
While there is no doubt that a regular exercise program is an instrumental part of preserving heart health, there are a number of other steps that you can take to achieve this goal. Start with avoiding harmful habits such as smoking and tobacco use. You can also be purposeful about eating a diet full of heart-healthy foods, maintaining a healthy weight, getting the right amount of sleep each night and staying on top of your preventative health screenings. In addition, taking a targeted supplement is another powerful way to ensure that your heart has what it needs to fire on all cylinders.