"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Ease of exercise

Even short periods of standard exercise can improve your heart health — and it's never too late to begin.

“People say, I'm very active, I'm always on the move,” she says. It's good to be physically energetic, she tells them. But getting regular moderate exercise — ideally at the least half-hour most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure and plenty of other risk aspects related to heart disease. Even for those who've never done formal exercise, starting within the second half of life can still make a difference (see “Exercise: Starting After 60 Can Still Help”).

Exercise: Starting after 60 also can help.

People exercise less as they age. But curbing this trend can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, in accordance with a study published last November. European Journal of Cardiology. Researchers analyzed data from greater than 1.1 million South Koreans aged 60 and over with no known heart disease. They all underwent two health screenings between 2009 and 2012 and were followed as much as the tip of 2016.

About two-thirds of participants in each screenings were physically inactive. But those that began exercising one to 2 times per week through the second screening had a 5 percent reduction in events reminiscent of heart attack or stroke throughout the follow-up period compared with adults who remained sedentary. And when people began exercising three to 4 times per week, their risk of heart problems dropped by 11 percent.

Find a very good fit.

Find an activity you enjoy that gets your heart rate up, whether it's walking, swimming, water aerobics or dancing. Using exercise equipment reminiscent of an elliptical machine or stationary bike may be a very good option, especially when the weather is inclement. People with physical limitations (reminiscent of back pain or joint pain) may have to try different options to search out a type of exercise that doesn't hurt.

And don't push yourself too hard. That old adage of “no pain, no gain” isn't quite right, says Bousquet, a cardiovascular nurse. You don't need to sweat; All it is advisable do is raise your heart rate higher than normal. See “exercise effort” to grasp how hard you have to be working, which varies depending in your fitness level.

Exercise effort

When you're just starting out, aim for light to moderate intensity, whether you're walking, cycling or swimming. Once you get used to exercising recurrently, you'll be able to regularly increase your effort level.


How are you feeling?

the sunshine

Light effort, easy respiration; you'll be able to sing

Mild to moderate

Some effort, more noticeable in respiration; You can speak in complete sentences.


Moderate effort, difficult respiration; You can speak in complete sentences but have to take more breaths.

Moderately wealthy

hard effort, barely out of breath; You can speak in sentences

Start low and slow.

Bousquet's colleague Lauren Mellett, a physical therapist and cardiologist, says that for individuals who aren't very energetic, a half-hour workout might sound daunting. “If you're brand new to exercise, start out with just five to 10 minutes. Try increasing it to two to three minutes every few sessions,” she suggests. You also can split your workout into two 15-minute sessions, or three 10-minute workouts throughout the day. “You won't tolerate as much, but you'll still reduce your risk of heart disease,” says Mellett.

When people are available for cardiac rehabilitation, their blood pressure is measured steadily. If the reading is high the primary time they arrive, it drops about 10 minutes after you finish exercising. This immediate, positive feedback may be very helpful, says Millett. She adds that people who find themselves pre-diabetic or pre-diabetic often see similar advantages with lower blood sugar levels after exercise.

Photo: Martins/Getty Images