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Getting Fit in Middle Age Helps Lower Risk of Heart Failure

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Contrary to popular belief, middle age is not too late to start getting fit, says new medical research.

According to HealthDay News, the research not only shows that fitness is an important factor in terms of limiting risk of heart failure, but also that people who improve their fitness -- even in middle age -- diminish their risk of heart failure in the future.

The results of the study were presented on Wednesday at a meeting of the American Heart Association in Baltimore.

Heart failure is the most common reason that older adults are hospitalized, according to the American Heart Association, and as many as five million Americans currently have heart disease. Dr. Gregg Fonarow, director of the Cardiomyopathy Center at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, told HealthDay News that nearly 20 percent of American adults will develop heart failure in their lifetime.

Fonarow did say, however, that "heart failure is preventable by maintaining cardiovascular health and control of heart failure risk factors."

The study analyzed the fitness levels of over 9,000 middle-aged adults, who were tested twice each -- 8 years apart. According to HealthDay News, those people who were not physically fit at the beginning of the study had a higher risk of heart failure later in life. However, those who improved their fitness level had a lower risk of heart failure than those whose fitness remained poor.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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