According to a new study, you can reverse the negative effects that being a couch potato has on your heart in just TWO YEARS, even if you've never exercised before. The catch is you have to work out HARD to do it.
Researchers in Dallas had about 50 volunteers who'd all lived sedentary lifestyles start working out. Half had to follow a workout regimen that focused on balance and flexibility. In other words, lots of yoga. The other half had to do more INTENSE stuff like weightlifting and high-intensity interval training.
And after two years, the intense workouts made people's heart muscles much more flexible, which is what you want. Your heart tends to stiffen up as you age, which can eventually lead to heart failure.
Meanwhile, the group that just did yoga saw no improvement in heart flexibility. Which doesn't mean yoga's bad. It just means you also need to mix in more intense exercise if you want to get your heart back in shape.
You can't wait forever to get moving though. The study found that once you hit about 65, it's usually too late, and you can't reverse the effects of a sedentary lifestyle after that.