Hard Exercise Keeps Arteries Soft and Healthy

Study suggests strenuous activity could help save your life

The stiffening of arteries, which circulate oxygen-rich blood around the body, is an inevitable byproduct of aging—one that has been linked to heart attacks and strokes, even death. While we can’t stop time, a new Indiana University study suggests that even in middle age there’s a way to help prevent arterial stiffening: vigorous exercise.

The study analyzed the lifestyles (and arteries) of 49 people, 33 of whom were fit U.S. Masters swimmers who exercised vigorously more than 200 minutes a week. The remaining 13 participants exercised either occasionally or not at all.

The study found that the 33 highly active people had arteries that were far more elastic and healthy than the others, a conclusion that “reinforces the idea that activity could be more influential than aging on some health factors,” said Joel Stager, Associate Chair of Indiana University’s kinesiology department.

An unsurprising result, perhaps, but more evidence of exercise’s ability to slow the negative effects of aging.

Via Runner’s World.