This is for anyone who's spent most of their life watching TV, and sitting in front of a computer. Good news--you can STILL get fit--it is not too late!
According to a new study in Time Magazine, you can reverse the negative effects that being a couch potato has on your heart in just two years, even if you've never exercised before. The catch is you have to work out hard to do it. Researchers in Dallas had about 50 volunteers who'd all lived sedentary lifestyles start working out. Half had to follow a workout regimen that focused on balance and flexibility. In other words, lots of yoga. The other half had to do more intense stuff like weightlifting and high-intensity interval training. After two years, the intense workouts made people's heart muscles much more flexible, which is what you want. Your heart tends to stiffen up as you age, which can eventually lead to heart failure.
Meanwhile, the group that just did yoga saw no improvement in heart flexibility. Which doesn't mean yoga's bad. It just means you also need to mix in more intense exercise if you want to get your heart back in shape.
Even for people who may not be able to stick to the complete regimen, some exercise is better than none, and physical activity comes with a variety of benefits for the whole body, not just for the heart—like lowering disease-causing inflammation, for example, and improving blood pressure and blood sugar readings. There is even evidence that exercise can reduce risk of brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.
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