Exercise to slow ageing

Exercise: the appliance of science explained how the health benefits of daily exercise have been scientifically proven, but one of the most intriguing explanations of the benefits of exercise is to consider how it can slow cardiovascular ageing. Effectively regular workouts keep hearts young and strong.

Like any other muscle, if it’s not exercised our heart can weaken over time, especially the more sedentary our lifestyle. If we become less active as we get older, the muscle in our heart’s left ventricle — the chamber that pumps oxygen-rich blood back out to the body — becomes stiffer. This change, combined with stiffening of the arteries leading to high blood pressure, sets off a harmful cardiovascular ageing cycle. But regular cardio exercise can slow the process, with the exertion pumping blood around the body to muscles and lungs. This relaxes blood vessels over time, makes the heart run more efficiently, all of which helps keep blood pressure low.

The standard exercise recommendation is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity training per week, the critical aspect being that the cardio gets the heart pumping enough to raise a sweat. And the good news is that even if we have led a sedentary lifestyle for many years, we can still develop exercise routines to help the heart. Just as a sedentary lifestyle can accelerate heart ageing, starting to move can slow it down again!

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