Turning The Clock Back On Middle Aged Hearts

heart edit

Can you turn the clock back and improve your heart health even if you leave it to middle age? It appears so.

Recent studies of subjects who start exercising even at middle age are showing surprising results.

Dr Ben Levine a sports cardiologist at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center who is the director of the Institute of Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has shown through his research that starting exercise in midlife, even if you haven’t been an avid exerciser may head off a decline in heart function and give your aging heart a new lease of life.

The research conducted on a group of 45 to 64 year old mostly sedentary but otherwise healthy individuals showed how they were able to regain elasticity in the heart muscle allowing it to once again pump blood and function like a much younger heart.

The tendency for those in middle age who do not exercise is for the heart to lose its elasticity and not be able to pump as much blood and so do a poor job of allowing oxygen to be sent throughout the body. Subjects in the study who were tracked over a two year period were divided into two groups. One group did more lower intensity exercise like yoga and weight training, while the second group engaged in moderate to high intensity aerobic exercise up to 4 times a week. This second group saw the most dramatic improvements in their heart health.

According to Dr Levine this group who originally had hearts that looked like typical 50 year olds, started to have hearts that functioned like 30 or 35 year olds. Their hearts were better at filling with more blood and pumping more blood during exercise.

The type of exercise this group performed was based around 4 minute bursts of moderate to high intensity cardiovascular exercise, that pushes the heart close to 95% of its maximum working rate. Each burst was followed by recovery periods.

Quest Fitness in Kennebunk has several great exercise programs that can deliver these benefits to you in a number of ways. Our Group Cycle Classes are based around a high intensity exercise format, taking your heart rate up then allowing for a recovery, all delivered in a low impact safe way. Several of our Studio One ‘Cardio’ Classes will deliver the same benefits as do some of our aqua based classes.

According to Dr Levine, the time is now for those in middle age, don’t wait. Your hearts still have the capacity to regain plasticity and get healthier but this window of opportunity closes as you move out of middle age.

So what are you waiting for, call us today and we’ll get you started on a program to turn back the clock on your heart health!

The original article was published in the American Heart Association’s “Circulation” on January 8, 2018