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It’s no secret that exercise is good for everyone’s health. Exercise is even more critical for people who are in the late years of middle age. Before 40, people are sometimes able to get away with living unhealthy lifestyles. After 40, however, every extra calorie has consequences.

Minimal exercise is not enough.

A new study suggests that the existing guidelines in weekly exercise are not enough to affect long-term cardiovascular health significantly. Simply put, 2.5 hours of exercise a week will not prevent you from having hypertension after 40.

The research involved 5,000 adult participants in Oakland, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Birmingham for 10 years. They all started the study as young adults aged between 18 and 30 and represented balanced demography of Black, White, female and male adults.

Up to 90 percent of the Black participants and about half of the white participants developed hypertension by 60. The study describes hypertension as blood pressure higher than 130/80 millimeters of mercury.

The findings revealed that although two and a half hours were not enough to prevent blood pressure, five hours of exercise a week was enough to stay clear of the disease. Adequate physical exercise during younger years was also related to less risk of cardiovascular diseases three decades later.

As a result, the researchers emphasized the importance of using exercise to lower blood pressure before and during middle age. Additionally, the results exhibit the wide exercise gap between the demographics and the resulting health implications.

From the study, Black women have the most little exercise throughout their lives. White men had the most exercise overall, while Black men had the best exercise as young adults but dropped drastically as age and family responsibilities kicked in. On the other hand, white women had the most consistent exercise routines, with around 3 hours of exercise every week throughout their lives.

Fewer drugs and more exercise

The researchers added that the risks mentioned in the study required fewer pharmacological solutions. They added that physical activity was the answer.