Exercise is known to offer a host of benefits, be it diabetes management, weight loss, or combating mental decline in dementia patients. Now, a new study shows that exercising four to five times a week can keep your heart healthy and slow down ageing.
Researchers from the University of Texas have found that different sizes of arteries are affected differently by varying amounts of exercise. While exercising for two to three days a week for about 30 minutes may be sufficient to minimise stiffening of middle-sized arteries, exercising for four to five days a week is required to keep larger central arteries youthful.
With age, arteries — which transport blood in and out of the heart — become prone to stiffening, increasing the risk of heart diseases.
For the study, published in The Journal of Physiology, the team examined 102 people over 60 years old, with a consistent, lifelong exercise history. A lifelong history of casual exercise (two-three times a week) resulted in more youthful middle-sized arteries, which supply oxygenated blood to the head and neck.
However, committed exercisers (4-5 times per week) also had more youthful large central arteries, which provide blood to the chest and abdomen, in addition to healthier middle-sized ones. Larger arteries need more frequent exercise to slow down ageing, the researchers said.
The findings will help see “if we can reverse the ageing of a heart and blood vessels by using the right amount of exercise at the right time”, said Benjamin Levine, one of the study authors from the University of Texas.