How the Heart Changes with Exercise

People at risk for heart disease often struggle with the uncertainty of knowing whether their arteries contain fatty plaque that might cause a heart attack. Unless they have symptoms, it’s hard to justify doing potentially invasive or expensive testing, says Dr. Wasfy. What may be reassuring, however, is to think of exercise as an insurance policy that may offer both short- and long-term protection for your heart. A single exercise session may protect the cardiovascular system for two to three hours, the authors postulate. “In essence, you’re training your heart to be more resilient,” says Dr. Wasfy.30 minutes a day is the sweet spot for nearly maximal health protection, says Dr. Wasfy. But it’s fine to break that up into three 10-minute sessions. As always, if you’re not accustomed to getting any exercise, get clearance from your physician before starting.