Study points to long-term benefits of exercise

WASHINGTON — Dr. Edward Howard is a cardiologist who doesn’t just talk the talk about fitness, he walks the walk.


“I try to run every morning for at least 30 to 40 minutes,” he says, noting he also won’t miss an opportunity to get in a game of tennis, a round of golf, or some time teaching his 4-year-old son the intricacies of soccer.

Exercise is simply a part of his life, a busy one full of medical and family obligations.

Howard, who is with Virginia Heart in Arlington, says he makes the time because he’s well aware of the long-term health benefits of that exercise.

And he wasn’t surprised to see a study and accompanying editorial in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” that underscored the impact that cardio done in younger years can have on your heart decades later.

The study included about 4,900 people who did treadmill tests as young adults in the 1980s and early 1990s.

They were followed for decades, and those who lasted the longest on the treadmill in early tests had the best heart health years later.

“I think people should be aware that this is an investment in your future, and it is certainly worthwhile to create that space in your life to exercise routinely” Howard says.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderately intense activity at least five days a week.

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