Exercising as we age is crucial in order to decease our risk of heart disease. Exercise decreases the risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It can also help decrease fatigue and shortness of breath which will enable you to maintain your activities of daily living and the sports that you enjoy. Not only does exercising after age 50 help decrease the risk of heart disease, it also improves quality of life. Of course age related heart changes may occur such as arrhythmias, lipid profile changes, and insulin sensitivity, but these can be delayed or sometimes prevented by staying active. Lastly, exercise helps to reduce stress which is correlated to heart issues.
As for heart healthy exercise after age 50, it is necessary to start after having a full medical checkup. It is necessary to have a cardiac baseline to which you can compare future tests. If there are medical issues, it will effect the exercise routine.
For those wanting to begin a heart health program, start with a walking routine or any gentle aerobic exercise which will increase the heart rate.
If there are no orthopedic issues or other health issues, it is fine to add jogging, hiking,aerobic exercise classes, etc. This should be performed daily for 30 to 60 minutes.
Resistance training also has heart healthy benefits. It increases blood flow to active muscles. It may lead to longer lasting blood pressure control. It helps to increase muscle mass which will help in weight control. The resistance or strength training program should include exercises that strengthen every major muscle group.This would include exercises such as squats, lunges, leg lifts, push ups ,planks and numerous core strengthening exercises.