A new study has found that moderate exercise can reverse heart damage caused by age and a sedentary lifestyle – if it’s begun early enough and performed with enough frequency.
Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern studied a group of about 50 participants over the course of two years.
The study found that in order for exercise to help reverse heart damage, the exercise regimen needs to start before the age of 65 when the heart retains some plasticity – meaning it is still able to remodel itself.
The study varied the kind of exercise participants did, including 30 minutes of high-intensity interval training, an hour of moderate cardio, such as walking or biking, and strength training. Researchers found the key is frequency – exercise needs to be done four or five times a week in order to reverse heart damage – anything less wasn’t enough.
Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in WV.
The study was published this month in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.