midlife workplace wellness

It’s Not Too Late: Study Shows Exercise at Midlife Reduces Heart Disease

As part of our continuing coverage of American Heart Month, today we address the question of how workplace wellness programs can help midlife employees.

We recently noted that workplace wellness programs — and individuals — pay close attention to diet and weight, a recent study reminds that increasing activity matters. MedPage Today reports that “Regardless of weight, inactivity may be a precursor to metabolic syndrome, according to a new study.”

For many workplace wellness programs, a key challenge is engagement — How to encourage employees to take up (and maintain) healthy behaviors? This can become particularly difficult with employees (or any of us) who have established poor fitness habits over many years. Habits, we know, are hard to break.

Now another MedPage report also emphasizes the importance of fitness, but with a twist: Don’t let age get in the way: “Middle Age Is Not Too Late to Get Off the Couch; starting exercise later in life may still reduce risk of heart failure.”

Midlife: Age is Just a Number?

The post notes that “individuals in good health despite a sedentary lifestyle still benefit from initiating an exercise routine in middle age, according to a randomized study.”

For workplace wellness leaders who seek evidence to present to reluctant participants, the study makes clear that age should not be an excuse.

According to the authors: “In previously sedentary healthy middle-aged adults, 2 years of exercise training improved maximal oxygen uptake and decreased cardiac stiffness. Regular exercise training may provide protection against the future risk of heart failure with a preserved ejection fraction by preventing the increase in cardiac stiffness attributable to sedentary aging.”

The continued: “This study also demonstrated that exercise training can be adhered to by middle-aged adults over a prolonged period, suggesting that this may be an effective strategy to mitigate the deleterious effects of sedentary aging on the heart and forestall the development of heart failure with a preserved ejection fraction.”