The CDC reports that hearts of American adults are about seven years older than their actual age.

 Sedentary lifestyle of many Americans could be to blame for this.

Exercise Physiologist, Tanya Gillen, who also works in cardiac rehab, said that in generations past, hearts were healthier, weather that be from working outside or even walking from place to place rather than driving.

Now, the importance of exercise isn’t just for better physique, it can also reduce the risk of heart failure.

“You see a variation with the hearts nowadays that what you did even 40-50 years ago,” said Gillen.

According to the CDC, one in two men have a heart age of four or more years older than their actual age.

Two in five women have a heart age of five or more years than their age.

For some, that’s due to lack of exercise.

Without it, the heart muscles stiffen up.

But getting up and moving – and your heart pumping – can reverse that.

“There are ways to measure your max and your least effort with the heart, but everybody has that individual ways,” explained Gillen.

“So you can monitor how you’re feeling and that’s a nice easy base line.”

While heart rate does differ for each individual person, one important thing to remember when doing cardio activity is to work hard enough that you can hold a conversation, but so you will be a little bit breathless.

“You want to be able to breathe, but also put some exertion on that body, that heart,” Gillen added.

She said you can get your heart to work harder by running, cycling, strength training, and even just walking more.

Depending on your age and health condition, make a gradual effort and see how your body responds.

Gillen said, “We always tell our cardiac rehab patients every day, ‘slow and steady wins the race.’ So ease into it, make it enjoyable, make it fun. Watch your heart rate, see what it’s doing.”

The American College of Sports Medicine suggests 30 minutes of moderate to high intensity activity every day.

Again, that depends on each person.

Doing so improves lung and heart function, increases circulation and prevents or helps with recovering from injury, all the while, reducing risk for heart attack or stroke.