Get moving to slow cardiovascular aging

Keep your heart strong and young by giving it a good, regular workout.

Image: © JohnnyGreig/Getty Images

Your heart, like any other muscle, can weaken over time, especially if you are sedentary. As you age and become less active, the muscle in your heart's left ventricle — the chamber that pumps oxygen-rich blood back out to the body — becomes stiffer.

"This change in the heart muscle, coupled with simultaneous stiffening of the body's arteries that leads to high blood pressure, begins a harmful cardiovascular aging cycle," says Dr. Aaron Baggish, director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. "Without intervention, this sets the stage for heart failure later in life."

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