As we age, our heart’s chambers often thicken. This thickening stiffens the tissue of the heart, which limits the heart’s ability to fill with blood. This is called diastolic dysfunction. A recently released study does show, however, that 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week can help to prevent this issue.
The study included over 4,000 adults between 45 and 64 years old at the start of the study in the late 1980s. The participant’s physical activity level was tracked over a 24-year period and the thicknesses of their hearts were measured with ultrasound devices near the end of the study. Roughly half of the participants had ideal amounts of leisure-time physical activity, like walking or physical housework, while almost one in three participants reported no physical activity at all. Fortunately, boosting activity levels late in life seemed to offset the age-related changes in heart function.
Source: Harvard Health Publishing