Here's good news for many of us whose biggest exercise movement is rising from the chair after a TV show. Even if you have been sedentary and you're over 40, starting an exercise program will protect your heart health.
You will achieve the most benefit by making it a goal to be very active. But even slight increases in activity are worthwhile.
The bad news about exercise: If you were very active from age 20s and 30s, but not since that time, your risk for heart disease is similar to someone who never exercised at all.
A German study published in the journal Heart. Shows that people who were “very active” over 40 years of age had 90 percent less heart disease than sedentary people. Those who were “somewhat active” also had reduced heart risks, but not by as much.
These were the unexpected findings from a study that compared healthy individuals and people with heart disease to determine how exercise impacted their heart risk.
Individuals who are over 40 and have not exercised for some time should discuss their heart protection plan with their doctors. They may be advised to begin slowly, as with walking or working at a slow speed on a treadmill. As their fitness increases, they can do more and add strength-training exercises with hand weights.