Recently published research has shown impressive benefits of exercise over and above medications alone both in people at risk for heart disease and in those already afflicted by it.
Moderate Aerobic Exercise
Studies over the last 50 years have shown that walking at a normal pace for 150 minutes per week lowers the risk of heart attack, halves the likelihood of progression from borderline to full blown diabetes, and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
In 2009 the results were published of a study in Medicare beneficiaries who had survived heart attacks. Mortality was cut by over a third in those 70,040 (12%) who took part in cardiac rehabilitation (average 24 sessions) during the first year after heart attack.
The mortality benefit was greater (40% reduction) in those who completed more than 24 sessions and the benefit persisted for 5 years (see figure). cardiology in Arlington
Interval Exercise Training
Whereas the benefits of moderate intensity exercise have been appreciated for many years, it is only in the last decade that researchers have turned their attention to the application of interval training, a long established method used by athletes to patients at risk for and affected by cardiovascular disease.
Studies have been conducted in obese adolescents, young adult women, in obese middle aged adults with or without diabetes, in middle aged and elderly patients with heard failure and in heart attack survivors.
Subjects exercised on a treadmill or stationary bike for approximately 40 minutes, expending the weeks. Evaluations were performed at the end of the 12 week program and one year after the start.
Compared with moderate intensity aerobic exercise or, in some studies, weight training, high intensity interval exercise caused double the increase of exercise capacity, of blood pressure reduction, of improvements in cholesterol levels, and glucose and muscle metabolism.
Remarkably, in patients over 75 years of age with failing hearts after heart attacks, weakening and enlargement of the heart were partly reversed.
Conclusion: interval exercise training, should be recommended for all those capable, because of its superior ability to prevent and reverse the effects of heart disease.
Ask Dr. O’Hara or his staff about our program for exercise and weight control.