A new year is full of fresh optimism about fresh starts—whether you are striving to achieve a new career goal, finally complete that home improvement project, or develop (and maintain!) some new healthy habits.
But after a few weeks, it’s common for that enthusiasm to wane. And that can particularly be the case when you’re focusing on weight loss, lower cholesterol, or establishing a regular exercise routine. We all hope for instant results—and when they don’t materialize, sometimes we tell ourselves it’s just too late for us to make a change.
So if that’s where you are right now on your 2018 fitness goals, pay attention—because according to science, it is not too late!
Recent research has found that starting exercise in middle age can work to reverse the heart damage that comes from sitting for long periods of time—which can be bad for your health.
The study focused on two groups of adults aged 45 to 64 who had led sedentary lives. One group did moderate- and high-intensity exercises, as well as strength training, four to five days a week. The other group did balance and flexibility training two to three days a week.
And—you guessed it—the “committed exercise” group experienced a lot more heart-health benefit than the “casual exercise” group.
So don’t let your New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside. You may not see a sudden plummet in pounds or reduction in inches—but your commitment to a vigorous exercise program can indeed reverse some of the damage your previous sedentary lifestyle has done to your heart. Consider what you need to do to make it easy to work on your exercise goal.
- Can you ask a friend to be your exercise buddy? If you commit to another person to go for a run or a bike ride at a certain time, you are more likely to keep that commitment.
- Can you sign up for an exercise class, where you can make friends who will help hold you to your exercise goal?
- Can you start participating in a sport or activity you used to enjoy—or one you’ve always wanted to try?
The New Year is well underway, but it’s not too late to make your healthy goals a reality. And hey, there’s no better time than American Heart Month to get started!