The team investigated the effects of a training regime consisting of four to five workouts per week, each session lasting around 30 minutes plus warm-ups and cool-downs.
For the study, researchers recruited 53 middle-aged volunteers aged 45 to 64 who self-reported having a sedentary, lazy lifestyle. The participants were separated into two groups: one whose exercise program included moderate and high-intensity workouts, the other where participants performed weight training, balance work, and yoga.
During the first three months, the participants performed only three moderate exercise sessions per week. Once they built enough stamina, two high-intensity aerobic intervals were added to the first group.
At the end of the two-year study period, the differences between the two groups were strikingly clear. Those who had performed aerobic exercises showed an 18 percent improvement in their maximum oxygen intake during exercise and a more than 25 percent improvement in compliance, or elasticity, of the left ventricular muscle of the heart - the chamber that pumps oxygen-rich blood back out to the body. Those who did the yoga and weight sessions, however, did not show improved heart health.