It used to be thought that those with heart problems should rest and not exercise. New studies are showing the exact opposite.
Not only can exercise reduce the risk of heart problems happening at all, it can reduce the severity if they do.
The best news? It only takes one exercise session to produce an immediate effect.
As most of us know, getting our heart rate up with exercise has many benefits. The effort needed strengthens muscles and burns calories. That brings down weight, reduces cholesterol levels and lowers body fat.
The research on this is complex but stringent. It involves starving the heart of oxygen and damaging the muscle (the actual definition of a heart attack) so it has had to be confined to animal tests.
The researchers believe that the effects can be extrapolated to humans. What seems to happen is that exercise changes blood composition, adding a substance which reduces the amount of heart muscle damaged when an artery is blocked. That means a better chance of both survival and recovery.
That’s the conclusion of the study. Each workout provides four to five days of protection for the heart. This also opens up the concept of ‘prehabilitation’, which means exercising in advance of heart surgery to reduce the chance of complications. Add that to rehabilitation afterwards and the prospects for heart patients get better.
For all of us, there’s little doubt that even one session of cardio will help your heart. Regular exercise will keep those benefits going now, and into the future.
reassuring indeed for all of us with heart disease in the family. My grandad talks about being told to 'rest up' after his heart attack, now I know patients are encouraged to get on the move. Here's to modern medicine!
wow that's massively encouraging, had no idea the effect was so immediate