Indulging in proper exercise in middle age (before age 65), when the heart apparently retains some plasticity and ability to remodel itself can have the best effect on your heart health, says the study published in the journal Circulation.
In an earlier study, researchers found that the exercise needs to be performed four-to-five times a week.
"Based on a series of studies performed by our team over the past five years, this 'dose' of exercise has become my prescription for life," said Benjamin Levine, lead author of the study and Director of the Institute and Professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
For the study participants were divided into two different groups, one of which received two years of supervised exercise training and the other group, a control group, which participated in yoga and balance training.The participants were monitored well over the period of study. The regimen included exercising four-to-five times a week, generally in 30-minute sessions, plus warm-up and cool-down.
The findings at the end of the study revealed that those who had exercised showed an 18 per cent improvement in their maximum oxygen intake during exercise and a more than 25 per cent improvement in compliance, or elasticity, of the left ventricular muscle of the heart.
A lifestyle without exercise and physical activity can lead to a stiffening of the muscle in the heart's left ventricle, the chamber that pumps oxygen-rich blood back out to the body.
"When the muscle stiffens, you get high pressure and the heart chamber doesn't fill as well with blood. In its most severe form, blood can back up into the lungs. That's when heart failure develops," the researcher explained.
While exercise and physical activities are important to keep your heart fit. One can't do so without keeping a tab on one's diet. Great number of scientific studies have also shown that certain foods contain nutrients and essential minerals that may help boost heart health. Have a look.
1. Oats: Oats are known to contain a type of fiber that helps bind bile acids and expel them from the body. These bile acids are made from cholesterol. A diet that includes oats is effective in lowering the cholesterol levels in our body.
2. Nuts: Munching on a handful of nuts can do wonders for your heart. These nuts have high amounts of unsaturated fats that are good for your heart as they help in reducing the inflammation of the arteries.
3. Legumes: Legumes are great for the heart and have antioxidants, proteins and fiber. They are also a great source to get your folate requirement from and also help in increasing the platelet activity.
4. Berries: Berries are full of heart-healthy phytonutrients and lots of soluble fiber. Make a quick smoothie or sprinkle them over your breakfast cereal.
5. Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and phytoestogens and all of these help in boosting heart health. It is best to soak or grind flaxseeds before consuming them to derive maximum health benefits.
A good diet and regular exercise leads to a healthy lifestyle which can reduce the risk of heart disease to a great extent.
(With Inputs IANS)