Midlife Couch Potato? Get Moving for Heart Health

Shoes Ready When You Get Off the Couch
Richard Newstead/Moment/Getty Images

Do you think it is too late to take up exercise to improve your heart health? Studies find that it's not too late - you can still reduce heart risks by taking up exercise after age 40, or beginning exercise even though you are over 60 with hypertension.

Couch Potato at Age 40? Start Exercising!

People who have spent most of their lives sitting can still cut their risks of coronary artery disease, suggests a small study published in the journal Heart.

The study found that those who took up exercise after the age of 40 reduced their risk by 55% compared to those who remained inactive. The study used a group of people with coronary artery disease matched with a group of similar age (40-68) who did not.

It's Best to Be Active and Stay Active

The news was even better for those who had been active and stayed active, their risk of coronary heart disease was 60% less than those who were inactive. If you've been active your whole life, don't retire from being active when you retire from the job. In fact, you need to add more strength, flexibility and balance exercise to maintain your muscle mass and reduce risks of falls as you age.

    How to Start Walking

    One of the best ways to begin to be active is to start a walking program. Get a check-up and discuss any physical or medical limitations with your doctor. Chances are good your prescription for health will include a walking program. We have free programs for you.

    • Let's Get Walking - 30 Day Quick Start Plan: Our program for absolute beginners. It takes you from zero to walking 30 minutes a day most days of the week. By the end of the program you will be meeting the minimum amount of physical activity needed to reduce your health risks of killers such as diabetes and heart disease.
    • 8 Hacks to Sit Less and Save Your Life: If you spend most of the day sitting, you need to get moving more throughout the day to reduce your health risks. Sitting for extended periods raises your risks even if you exercise, according to some studies. Use these tactics to sit less.

    Source:

    D Rothenbacher, W Koenig, H Brenner "Lifetime physical activity patterns and risk of coronary heart disease" Heart 2006;000:1–2. doi: 10.1136/hrt.2006.087478

    Continue Reading