It’s been shown that regular exercise can correct years of being inactive and can, in turn, take years of damage away that people have done to their bodies. It was found during a 2-year research study that followed the American Heart Association’s exercise guidelines, regular exercise actually helped a group of middle-aged people that were for the most part inactive for most of their lives, tune up their hearts and lower their risk of heart disease.
Most of these people after having completed the program, are now committed to regular exercise because of being able to see the results it gave them in living a more active, pain and in some cases, medication-free lifestyle.
Now, this study was carried out with an exercise regimen, again, following the guidelines supplied by the American Heart Association. That means that trying to exercise only 2-3 times a week for about 20 minutes simply, does NOT cut it! However, committed exercise four to five times a week was almost as effective at preventing sedentary heart aging as the more extreme exercise of elite athletes.
Based on the study, which studied 54 people, who acknowledged that they were not previously very active and spent more time on the couch than being active outside the home. The study found that those who had worked out at least four days a week had healthier hearts and arteries, and were fitter as measured by oxygen uptake measurements.
One thing that was paramount in conducting this study was to have accurate data, 24 x 7 on just how much activity was done during each day, on each subject! In order to do this each participant was encouraged to use a fitness tracker. One that not only counted steps each day, but calories burned, distance and was able to monitor activity based on body movement. One that comes to mind on our end is the Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate & Activity Tracker HR The Charge HR will record your workouts and track all-day activity like heart rate, steps, distance, calories burned, stairs climbed and active minutes. With an impressive battery life up to 5 days* and instant access to every stat, you don’t have to look far for motivation to keep moving.
The Fitbit Charge also utilizes "Smart Track"—a feature that automatically recognizes and records select exercises. For even more precise tracking during workouts and real-time stats on your wrist, put Fitbit Charge HR into Exercise Mode. Then see how all your effort adds up by reviewing exercise summaries in the Fitbit app. The Charge HR automatically and wirelessly syncs your stats to your computer and 200+ leading smartphones and tracks your progress in detailed charts and graphs that keep you encouraged to reach your fitness goals.
It is being able to monitor your progress and track just how well you are doing for each day. This way, if you see a consistent "Down-Time" in your activity, you can either acknowledge why it happened or take steps to correct it.
It's imperative to have a device like this because it also helps keep you motivated. You can't "Fudge" the data, it is what it is!
“This study demonstrates that prolonged (two years) exercise training, initiated in middle age, can forestall the deleterious effects of sedentary aging by reducing cardiac stiffness and increasing fitness,” the researchers wrote.
The volunteers all did exercises they chose and that they could stick with. The study was careful to monitor and changeup or diversify the kinds of exercise they did. In order to minimize overuse injuries and keep people fresh, it was key to encourage diversification, in the exercise regimens they performed.
The team employed standards and techniques used to train athletes, but modified for the average, “Flabby American”. This included at least one long session a week of tennis, dancing or brisk walking; one high-intensity aerobic session that could be as short as 20-30 minutes; one or two weekly strength training sessions and two to three days of moderate intensity exercise such as a moderate walk. The goal with the last is to break a sweat but not get out of breath.
Based on tracking the results and readings taken periodically from the monitored subjects, it was determined that the optimal dose of the right kind of exercise, which is four to five times a week, and the ‘sweet spot’ in time, when the heart risk from a lifetime of sedentary behavior can be improved, which based on the “Mean Point” that was used is late middle age. The result was a reversal of decades of a sedentary lifestyle on the heart for most of the study participants.
So, you see, it’s never really too late to get yourself moving and your body will actually begin to turn back the hands of time, so to speak. The more you do, the more your body will benefit!
So, why are you still just sitting here? Go on, get up, tie those walking shoes on and get yourself started on rejuvenating yourself!