With age, people often look back on their lives and think about how they could have done things differently, whether it was pursuing a job, traveling somewhere, or simply being spontaneous and adventurous.

A new study is reporting that there’s one more thing young people should do while they can – exercise.

“Fitness and physical activity have long been associated with helping reduce the risk of heart disease in older adults,” said Michael C Kayal D.O., a cardiologist, Geisinger Cardiology – Scranton. “But now a study is telling us we should start thinking about exercise’s role in our heart health when we’re much younger.”

Essentially, you’re never too young to take care of your heart. Young adults between the ages of 18-30 who exercise may have a lower risk of heart disease and higher survival odds decades later in life, compared to those who aren’t as active early in life.

“This study gives young people a much bigger reason to work out – it could potentially prevent heart issues from developing when they’re older,” Dr. Kayal said.

Being fit and maintaining your fitness over time are important to your heart and overall health for everyone, regardless of age. Getting a head start on your long-term heart health will put you ahead of the curve.

“In addition to exercise, young adults can also get smart about their heart now by having regular wellness exams, not smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke,” Dr. Kayal said.

Having regular checkups with your physician means you can start heart health screenings now, as well as discuss your diet, lifestyle and potential risk factors for heart disease.

“Regularly getting your blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate, blood sugar and body mass index (BMI) checked and knowing your numbers will help you and your doctor spot possible changes in the future,” Dr. Kayal said.

Quitting smoking will improve your overall health and wellbeing and cut your risk of heart disease and several other serious health issues.

No matter what your age is, exercise can help reduce your risk of heart disease, not to mention lowering your risk of obesity, diabetes, some forms of cancer and more.

“Regardless of your age, you can reduce your risk of heart disease by eating a healthy diet,” Dr. Kayal said. “That means eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and nuts while choosing foods low in saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.”

Eating some meals without meat, choosing low-fat dairy products and poultry, and limiting the amount of added sugars and red meat you consume are also components of a heart-healthy diet.