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Your Heart’s Ability to Find Youth in Middle Age

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Your Heart’s Ability to Find Youth in Middle Age

It’s no secret that exercise is good for us. It helps our brains stay sharp, lowers cancer rates, and it’s great for cellular health. It’s also excellent for our hearts, which we know from cardiovascular exercise – the physical work we do that raises our heart rate. Unfortunately, as we age, our hearts do not remain the efficient machines they used to be. It’s probably no surprise that exercise is a great way to preserve a healthy heart. The trouble is, so many of us forego exercise. What’s worse, our lifestyles these days usually involves desk-work, which means not only are we not drumming up our heart rates to high levels, we’re not even raising them moderately  in daily movement, either.

But a new study released in the journal Circulation revealed that in middle age there’s a window to quickly repair and uphold heart health to carry us through senior years. That means, there’s a way to undo the effects from desk life.

The biology of the heart is such that the left heart ventricular muscle is responsible for pumping the oxygen enriched blood. When we exercise, we’re taking in oxygen, and supporting this process, but when we lead the typical American sedentary lifestyle, the heart becomes stiff and less efficient. In our senior years, our hearts become stiff anyway, and that means we pump less blood, which isn’t good – it often leads to heart failure. But exercise promotes elasticity instead of stiffness, so not only do you get more oxygen, the muscle is youthful, providing adequate, healthy blood.

The study examined 53 people between the ages 45 and 64, prime middle age, who did not engage in regular exercise and divided them into two parts: one undertaking with cardiovascular exercise, and the other performing balance and strength, like yoga. The program for both groups was four to five days per week of their assigned exercise, for two years. The findings showed no improvement in the balance group’s heart health, but the cardiovascular group had amazing improvements: an 18 percent increase of maximum oxygen intake, and a 25 percent increase in the left ventricular muscle’s elasticity.

In fact, these improvements negate the effects on the heart from decades of sedentary lifestyle. This means that if you’re in your fifties or sixties, it’s not too late to have a youthful heart in old age. Incorporating four to five days of cardiovascular exercise per week will significantly lower your chances of heart failure in older years.

After Fifty Living™ was founded by Jo-Anne Lema, a genuine Boomer and member of the 50+ generation. As she likes to say, “Our enormous generation is charting new territory – we’re healthier, better educated, and more financially fit than any other generation at this time. And, as we march through history, 110 million strong – unique, new issues are developing. It’s exciting to be a part of the development and growth of This is a historic solution for a historic generation.”

Jo-Anne spent many years in the financial and operations side of higher education after having received a doctorate in education management and administration from Harvard, and an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University. Launching out on her own, though, has been the fulfillment of a life dream. Jo-Anne believes that “AfterFiftyLiving™ will delight its visitors, catalyze its partners, and will significantly benefit those who engage it.”

Residing in New England along with her husband of 35+ years, she never ceases to brag about her two children and 4 grandkids!

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