A recent study published in The Journal of Physiology found different amounts of weekly exercise had varied effects on middle and central arteries.
As people age, their arteries begin to stiffen, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.
The study, called The Effect of Lifelong Exercise Frequency on Arterial Stiffness, looked at 102 people older than 60 years who had been physically active throughout their lives. Researchers divided the participants into groups based on how often they exercised: less than two days per week, two to three days, four to five days and six to seven days. Then they measured the stiffness of their arteries.
Middle arteries supply oxygenated blood to the head and neck and central arteries supply the chest and abdomen. The study’s results found that two to three days of exercise per week may be sufficient to minimize stiffening of the body’s middle-sized arteries. However, four to five days of exercise per week will keep both the body’s middle-sized arteries and larger, central arteries healthier and young.
More research is required to study whether or not diet and societal factors had an influence on the results.
“This work is really exciting because it enables us to develop exercise programs to keep the heart youthful and even turn back time on older hearts and blood vessels,” Dr. Benjamin Levine, co-author of the study, said in a press release.