Today, folks, I’m going to take some time to talk to the men (and their concerned relatives) about a very serious problem they may already be facing: heart disease. It’s the leading killer of men across just about every racial and ethnic group in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/dotw/heart-disease-men/index.html).

Even scarier than that statistic is the fact that you could have a heart disease or be at immediate risk of developing one right now and not even know it because there are not always symptoms at first.

You don’t have to wait for this silent hunter to get you. In fact, you can take steps right now to help reduce your risk of developing heart disease. I’m sure a healthy diet and more exercise has already occurred to you, but it’s the exercise part I want to discuss with you today.

One very scary condition many men experience is heart failure, when the heart just stops pumping like it should. This leads to your body not getting enough oxygen. Things that were once easy to do, like carrying some groceries, become harder. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, and fluid build-up. Once you develop this condition, it’s usually chronic–there is no known cure.

A research study presented at an American Heart Association meeting does offer some hope, however: you can reduce your heart failure risk by increasing physical activity, even if those increases are modest and you start later in your life.

As covered by Medicine.net, researchers in this study followed the exercise habits of 11,000 people in the US, with their activity levels reviewed twice over a period of six years (https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=192009). People who reported doing either 75 minutes of vigorous activities or 150 minutes of moderate activity per week in both activity reviews were found to be 33 percent less likely to develop heart failure than people who were inactive.

People who were still active somewhat–engaging in moderate physical activity but for less than 149 minutes each week or taking part in vigorous activity but for less than 74 minutes each week–also benefited, with a 20 percent lower risk of developing the condition.

If you’re reading this thinking you never exercise, I have to say that you can still start now and receive this amazing benefit, among others. The study also found that people who were inactive but started doing some exercise still reduced their heart failure rate risk by 22 percent when they consistently engaged in the minimum recommended weekly physical activity levels of 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity.