If you had to guess which muscle in your body needs the most physical exercise, what would you say? Some may answer that having strong arms will help more with everyday tasks, others may say the benefits of strong leg muscles will keep your body balanced. While these answers are certainly legitimate, the real answer may surprise you.
Did you know that not getting enough physical exercise can lead to heart disease? Other risk factors include developing obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, stiffening of the heart walls, and even type 2 diabetes. Luckily, cardiologists from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Resources in Dallas have been studying how starting an exercise regimen can have reversing effects on a weakened heart.
Sedentary aging can lead to muscle stiffening in the heart's left ventricle. This is the chamber that pumps oxygen-rich blood back out into the body. If stiffened, not enough blood can get into the heart which can cause blood backups and eventually go into heart failure.
Starting an exercise program that gets your heart pumping has never been more important - especially if you're under age 65. Studies show that even middle-aged individuals can regain elasticity and reverse stiffening in their heart, all by getting up and moving.
"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 principal investigator Benjamin Levine, MD, director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine and professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern. "I think people should be able to do this as part of their personal hygiene - just like brushing your teeth and taking a shower." You can read more about the study from the American Heart Association.
To get the most heart-healthy exercise benefits, aim to do the following regimen at least four to five times a week for at least 30-minutes each session. Here's an example exercise schedule to try:
30 minutes of a high-intensity workout, such as aerobic interval sessions where your heart rate tops 95% at peak for 4 minutes, with 3 minutes of recovery time. Repeat 4 times.
30 to 60 minutes of a moderate intensity exercise, such as tennis, aerobic dancing, biking or walking. If you're going to do the full 60 minutes, make it a fun activity.
30 minutes of a moderate intensity exercise, such as tennis, aerobic dancing, biking or walking. When you're performing at a moderate intensity, you want to make sure you're breaking a little sweat and be a little short of breath. Think the "talk test" (exercising but being still being able to carry on a conversation).
30 minutes of strength training sessions. You can opt to use exercise machines or weights.
Each interval session was followed by a recovery session performed at relatively low intensity.
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Vertical One Fitness is the world's first vertical fitness center in Norwalk, CT. An innovative concept that focuses on a 10-story stair climbing tower, this state-of-the-art fitness center includes 10,000 square feet of fully-equipped weight training and exercise machines to give our vertical climbers a full-body workout.
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