Exercise Often for a Healthy Heart

Physical activity is good for your muscles, bones, respiratory health, and your mood. It can help you maintain a healthy weight, and it can improve your overall quality of life. Regular exercise promotes good overall health, and it also helps keep your heart healthy and strong. Having a strong, healthy heart reduces your risk for cardiovascular disease, heart failure, and hypertension.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need a minimum of two and a half hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition recommends that adults aim for five hours of moderate-intensity physical activity. The guidelines also state that you gain additional health benefits for exceeding that five hours a week.

A minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day leads to significant health benefits. The more you exercise, the greater the health benefits. Every minute of physical activity counts towards your daily activity goal. Go for three 10-minute walks, or 10 three-minute walks; the important thing is that you are being active.

It's never too late to start exercising. Just 30 minutes of physical activity each day improves your overall health and helps keep your heart healthy and strong! Click To Tweet

Exercise for a younger, healthier heart

A 2014 study examined the effects of exercise on left ventricular compliance and distensibility (LVCD). The objective of the study was to determine how physical activity affects the function and health of structures of the heart over time.

Researchers examined physical activity levels of 102 older men and women over the course of two decades. The subjects were put into four groups:

  • Those in the “sedentary” group exercised fewer than two sessions a week.
  • The “casual” group exercised for a minimum of 30 minutes between two and three times a week.
  • The “committed” group exercised four or five time a week.
  • Those in the “competitive” group were “master level athletes” who exercised six to seven time a week.

The heart muscles for those in the sedentary and casual groups showed typical signs of atrophy associated with old age. However, those in the committed and competitive groups had hearts that stayed strong and healthy; they did not show the same signs of aging as the hearts of sedentary group and casual exercisers. LVCD for those who exercised a minimum of four times a week was comparable to a younger demographic.

Make exercise a habit

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommendly that activity be spread throughout the week. The idea is that regular exercise is better for your health than sporadic activity. One of the reasons that exercising more often can be beneficial is that it’s easier to meet your weekly goals for physical activity. Those who make physical activity a healthy habit that’s part of a daily routine are more likely to stay active than those who occasionally exercise.

  • Spread physical activity throughout the week instead of once or twice a week for best results. However, there really isn’t a bad way to be more active. Any physical activity is better than no physical activity at all.
  • The sooner you start exercising the better. This helps you establish healthy habits, and it provides health benefits throughout your life.
  • It’s never too late to start exercising. There’s no time like the present to start being active and healthy.

Examples of moderate-intensity physical activity:

  • a leisurely bike ride
  • a brisk walk
  • mowing the lawn and yard work
  • building projects and home repair
  • dancing
  • tennis
  • swimming