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Proper Exercise May Reverse Damage from Heart Aging

90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke, yet almost 80% of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented through healthy behaviours.[1] One of those healthy lifestyle habits is regular exercise.

Are you currently more of a couch potato than a gym rat? It is not too late to take initiative towards a healthier lifestyle! A recent study published in the January edition of Circulation has found that in previously sedentary healthy middle-aged adults, regular exercise training may provide protection against the future risk of heart failure by preventing the increase in cardiac stiffness attributable to sedentary aging.[2]

To reap the most benefit, your exercise regimen should begin by late middle age (before age 65), when the heart retains some plasticity and ability to remodel itself. It is recommended that your new exercise regime will consist of at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise, in bouts of 10 minutes or more to improve overall cardiovascular health.[3]

If you are currently inactive, this may sound daunting, but there is no need to fret. You can start slow and build your momentum. Begin by taking a walk on your lunch break at work, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. As you get stronger, you can work harder and will reap the rewards.



1. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Risk & prevention. 2017.

2. Erin J. Howden et al. Reversing the Cardiac Effects of Sedentary Aging in Middle Age—A Randomized Controlled Trial: Implications For Heart Failure Prevention. Circulation, 2018; CIRCULATIONAHA.117.030617 DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.030617

3. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Time to get moving: 10 minutes to change your life. 2016.