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Young at Heart: Seniors Who Exercise Have Healthier, Younger Hearts

Posted by Frank Herold on August 8, 2019

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We all know that exercise is good for us, but a recent study by the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University has found that regular exercise has some extraordinary benefits for seniors.

Related Blog: Exercise Routines for Seniors Help Improve Mobility and Maintain Independence

According to the study, seniors who have kept up a decades-long exercise regime have the heart health of people 30 years younger. In addition, their muscle strength and lung health resembled that of people in their 40's. Let's take a closer look at this amazing study — and how seniors can reap the benefits of exercise in their daily lives.


The Study: Seniors, Exercise, and the Heart

In most cases, people's ability to efficiently process oxygen declines by 10% every decade. This leads to reduced cardiovascular health over time. Researchers wanted to find out if regular, lifelong exercise had any impact on keeping the heart and lungs healthy. In the study, researchers studied three separate groups:

  1. Seniors (averaging around age 75) who regularly exercised 
  2. Seniors who only did occasional, leisurely activity like golfing
  3. Young people (around 25 years old) who exercised frequently

Researchers studied the participants' cardiovascular health by measuring their oxygen and carbon dioxide levels as they exercised. Then, they took a small muscle biopsy from the participants. The results were incredible. Lifelong exercisers had cardiovascular systems that seemed 30 years younger. What's more, the muscle tissue taken from the group of seniors who exercised frequently was identical to that of the 25-year-old group.


How Does Exercise Help Your Heart?

When it comes to heart-health, researchers can definitely agree: your cardiovascular system greatly benefits from exercise. But how exactly does exercise help your heart

  • Strengthens heart muscle. Like any other muscle, your heart benefits from regular exercise. Moderate activity causes your heart muscle to strengthen and become more efficient, which means it requires less effort to pump blood throughout your body. In turn, this helps take pressure off your heart and lower blood pressure.
  • Increases oxygen. In addition to creating a stronger heart muscle, exercise also enhances your body's ability to pull nourishing oxygen from your blood to support your heart and other bodily tissues.
  • Supports blood vessels around heart. When you exercise, the blood vessels around your heart experience better blood flow. This helps nourish your heart and keep it healthy.

According to the American Heart Association, seniors can tailor their exercise program to suit their interests. Whether that exercise is cycling, running, long walks, yoga, or swimming — it's recommended that you get at least 30 minutes per day. 


How Seniors Can Support Their Heart Health in Walkable Venice, FL

Seniors with access to beautiful outdoor spaces can take advantage of their surroundings with a heart-healthy daily walk. Venice, Florida — with its beautiful year-round weather, generally flat and even terrain, accessible shoreline, and abundant parks and beaches — is an incredible place to keep active. Here are just a few of the most walkable spots in Venice:

  1. Historic Downtown Venice. Enjoy beautiful shops, scenery, and events by taking a stroll through historic downtown Venice.
  2. Venice Beach. Famous for its prehistoric shark teeth, a walk on Venice Beach delights with its scenic views and relaxing atmosphere.
  3. Venetian Waterway Park. Bask in the views of the Intercostal Waterway when you take your daily walk at the Venetian Waterway Park.
  4. Jelks Preserve. Love the idea of really being out in nature? Jelks Preserve offers the chance to bird watch while you walk. 

With more than 30 parks, Venice, FL, has no shortage of beautiful walks, hikes, and bike paths to keep your daily exercise engaging and beautiful.


Jacaranda Trace: Exercise Programs for the Young at Heart

At Jacaranda Trace, we believe in the power of staying fit, active, and healthy — especially through fun, community-oriented events. Our exciting fitness program includes wide-ranging sessions — pool volleyball, Tai-Chi, water aerobics, square dancing, and more — to make it easy to reap the heart-healthy benefits of exercise. Interested in learning more? Get in touch to learn all about our exercises and activities for the young at heart.

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