The Cardiac Effects of a Sedentary Lifestyle

regular aerobic training helps avoid negative health effects


Betty’s family was never the type that went to the gym or ran in marathons. As a kid, she played outdoors with her family, worked in the garden and enjoyed evening walks around the neighborhood. Her parents used to dance – both out on the town and around the house. Now at age 60, Betty sits at a desk all day and knows she could use some exercise. Since her mother’s passing 6 months ago, she has tried to get her father out of his recliner. Maybe a brisk walk together in the evening would be good for both of them.

Healthy Aging Starts with Avoiding a Sedentary Lifestyle in Middle Age

In a recent study completed by the American Heart Association, “Reversing the Cardiac Effects of Sedentary Aging in Middle Age,” it was found that the negative health effects of a sedentary lifestyle in middle age can be reversed with as little as two years of regular aerobic training prior to late middle age.

Sedentary behavior is waking behavior that expends little physical energy, less the 1.5 metabolic equivalents usually sitting or lying down. Sedentary behavior includes sitting or reclining while watching TV for long periods of time, sitting at a desk or computer station at work, or excess driving instead of walking. A sedentary lifestyle in middle age decreases oxygen saturation and can create vascular and cardiac stiffness, symptoms of poor cardiac health.

Heart Disease Prevention: Living an Active Lifestyle

Aerobics and Weight Training

The study noted that to gain the heart benefits of exercise does not require one to train at elite levels. Four to five times a week of moderate (150 minutes) to vigorous (75 minutes) exercise is the optimal amount of exercise required to improve heart health and help prevent heart disease. A variety of exercise routines will increase oxygen use and reduced cardiac stiffness including cardio vascular exercise, interval weight training and yoga. Brisk walking, dancing, or cycling is a way to meet one’s cardio vascular exercise goals. In addition, making choices that reduce sitting or reclining like using a standing desk at work or walking instead of driving will decrease sedentary behaviors.

Healthy Aging Benefits

While the best time to restart a healthy exercise routine to support optimal heart health is before the age of 64, a consistent exercise routine for older adults will enhance the functions of the heart and blood vessels, as well as have physical, emotional and psychological benefits. An older adult for whom exercise and physical activity has been an important part of their lives should be encouraged to continue as they age, even if such activity is temporarily disrupted by illness or rehabilitation.

Health and Fitness at Green Hill

At Green Hill residents enjoy exercise classes including yoga, Tai Chi and aerobics. They have access to the rehabilitation center that includes NU Step Machines, Treadmills, Omnicycles, Wii Console, Saratoga Cycles, free weights, resistance tools and physical and occupational therapy professionals to assist with exercise and activities-of-daily-life routines. The new GreenFit program creates exercise and fitness goals and celebrates a resident’s goals and accomplishments. The Green Hill campus has 23 lush acres of treelined sidewalks, green spaces and the GreenFit walking track, where residents enjoy outdoor exercise and activities spring through fall.

National Health and Fitness Day

May 30 is the 25th anniversary of National Senior Health and Fitness Day. To celebrate, Green Hill is hosting a ribbon cutting of the new Green Fit track at 11AM which includes the first annual Senior Health and Fitness Walk and Roll event. At 2:15 pm, radio personality, Dr. Laura Rokosz, will join us for a discussion on health and wellness. All are welcome to join us.

Green Hill is a SAGECare Platinum certified, welcoming community, rated Five-Stars by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid and the site of the first The Villas at Green Hill in New Jersey. Contact us today to learn about Health and Fitness at Green Hill and our vibrant living options. Or, please call 973-766-9355.