Weekly exercises can prevent the development of heart disease in aging hearts and decrease the risk of future heart failure, researchers of a new study claim.
A joint study conducted by researchers from the UT Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas, revealed that daily physical exercise can be particularly effective in staving off heart disease. However, to get the most benefit, people would have to start exercising before the age of 65. As part of the physical regime, they would need to work out four to five times a week, with varying intensity and duration. According to the researchers, this number has to be exact as any lesser workout frequency would not be effective.
“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 Dr. Benjamin Levine, Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study.
Dr. Levine believes this workout routine should be akin to any other hygiene habit such as brushing one’s teeth.
Levine and his team of researchers split 50 men and women ages 45 to 63 in two groups. One group underwent supervised cardiovascular exercise, while the other group focused exclusively on yoga and balance training.
After two years, the yoga group showed no cardiovascular improvements while the exercise group registered an 18 percent improvement in their maximum oxygen intake during exercise. More so, the group that exercised showed an improvement in elasticity of the left ventricle of the heart as well as in compliance. The heart’s left ventricle is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood back into the body.
Levine said that a stiffened heart chamber loses its ability to fill with blood and increases the risk of heart disease. The more severe the condition is, the doctor said, the higher the possibility of blood backing up into the lungs.
The regimen entails 30-minute sessions including a warmup and cool-down session. One of the weekly sessions should consist of a 30-minute workout of aerobic interval sessions, with 3 minutes of recovery repeated 4 times. Participants also had to do a low-intensity recovery session between each main session. Levine then said that each whole session should last for about an hour.
A couple more sessions were performed weekly at a moderate intensity. This meant that the participant would be mildly strained but still would be able to maintain a conversation afterward.
In addition, one or two weekly strength training sessions using weights or exercise machines were prescribed. These were performed on separate days from the main sessions.
The study was published in the journal, Circulation.
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