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CBS Local — A new study has revealed that the statement ‘it’s never too late to get in shape’ actually does hold water after all.

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According to researchers from the study, which was published in the journal Circulation, a group of middle-aged men and women with inactive lifestyles were able to follow a two-year program based on exercise guidelines recommended by the American Heart Association and significantly reduce their risk of heart failure.

Dr. Benjamin Levine, director of the Institute of Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Resources, recruited 53 volunteers ranging in age from 45 to 64 who were self-professed “couch potatoes” and put them to work on a four to five day per week exercise routine. The routines varied, with some consisting of moderate and high-intensity workouts, while others were weight training, balance work, and yoga based exercises.

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After following their respective routines, participants that did just yoga and weight sessions didn’t see results, but those that worked out at least four to five days per week reportedly were fitter and had healthier hearts and arteries.

“This study demonstrates that prolonged (two years) exercise training, initiated in middle age, can forestall the deleterious effects of sedentary aging by reducing cardiac stiffness and increasing fitness,” researchers wrote.

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The American Heart Association recommends “150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity)” to keep the heart healthy.