When we think of exercise, we tend to think about getting strong, fit and flexible. But one of the reasons why exercise is so beneficial is because it helps to keep main arteries young and flexible, too. New research has found that exercising between four and five times a week can protect arteries and reduce risk for cardiovascular problems. 

The Journal of Physiology published a study entitled, “The effect of lifelong exercise frequency on arterial stiffness” earlier this week. The researchers studied 102 individuals in their 60s, along with their exercise history and artery stiffness. 

It was important for researchers to measure artery stiffness because they transport blood from the heart to the rest of the body. And as people get older, arteries can get stiff. And if an individual leads a sedentary lifestyle and/or eats an unhealthy diet, he or she is at greater risk for stiff arteries and ensuing cardiovascular problems.

The scientists found that any form of exercise could help to lower the risk for cardiovascular health problems. However, the more an individual exercises, the better off he or she is.

For example, subjects who exercise two to three times a week, for about 30 minutes each time, the medium-sized arteries, which supply blood to the neck and head, were young and less stiff.

However, if people exercise four and five times a week, the even larger, central arteries are healthy and youthful. 

To keep arteries, strong, young and supple, aim to exercise between three to five times each week for lifelong health and wellness.