Can Exercise Protect Me From a Heart Attack ?
Exercise is associated with physiological improvements of the heart. The stroke volume and cardiac reserve increase, the autonomic stability increases and exercise leads to advantageous changes is thrombogenic and fibrinolytic factors (2). Researchers from the Mayo Clinic have now looked at exercise and early mortality from heart attacks (1).
Retrospectively 2061 patients with a history of myocardial infarction (MI, heart attack) were analysed.
Mean age was 62 years and the MI occurred on average 6.1 +/- 4.3 years after the initial exercise treadmill test.
The patients that died from a MI within 28 days had more often hypertension, were older, had a lower baseline exercise capability and the last stress test had been a while.
Each 1-MET increment in exercise capacity was associated with an 8-10% reduction in risk of dying from a heart attack.
Low exercise capacity was a stronger predictor for mortality with MI compared to smoking status, hyperlipidemia, diabetes and obesity. That does not mean that these are not important risk factors, but it highlight the effect of exercise when compared to these conventional risk factors.
Recommended based on the results from this paper are regular moderate (i.e. > 150 min/week) to vigorous (i.e. > 75 min/week) intensity physical exercise.
In SUMMARY exercise prevents death from a heart attack. You can make a difference, for yourself.
- Shaya, G. E., Al-Mallah, M. H., Hung, R. K., Nasir, K., Blumenthal, R. S., Ehrman, J. K., et al. (2016). High Exercise Capacity Attenuates the Risk of Early Mortality After a First Myocardial Infarction: The Henry Ford Exercise Testing (FIT) Project. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 91(2), 129–139. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2015.11.012
- Ahmed HM, Blaha MJ, Nasir K, Rivera JJ, Blumenthal RS. Effects of physical activity on cardiovascular disease. Am J Cardiol. 2012; 109(2):288-295.