03 April 2009

After Heart Attack Keep Exercising

myocardial infarction - Myokardinfarkt - schemeImage via Wikipedia

The latest study out on heart attack patients advises to keep exercising after a heart attack for maximum benefits of recovery. They tested 228 heart attack survivors for, get ready for it, technical term: F.M.D.: Flow-Mediated Dilation. It isn't anything complicated. F.M.D. is a measure of the flexibility of an artery as blood flows through it.

What the doctors are looking for is the ability of the artery to expand well. In normal people the expansion is 10%. In these heart attack survivors they measured it was 4.2% expansion.

What the scientists decided to do to test them was to divide them into four groups. There was the group of resistance training, the group for aerobic exercise, the group for both resistance training AND aerobic exercise, and lastly, the group for, drum roll please, no exercise at all.

What happened? The scientists decided after exercising them to now test them by getting them off all exercise for four weeks. They were testing to see how the exercise results held up against quitting exercise.

After quitting exercise all the survivors' dilation levels returned to the beginning levels: low. For the group that never exercised at all, their dilation level went from 4.2% after their heart attack to now 5.3%, some improvement by doing nothing but not spectacular.

The results were staggering for when the exercise groups remained in training! Here's what they found out. What was spectacular was the other heart attack survivors who were in all the exercise groups improved dramatically up to over 10% as an average!

“Cardiac rehabilitation is cheap,” said Dr. Margherita Vona, the lead author and director of cardiac rehabilitation at a clinic in Glion-sur-Montreux, Switzerland, “but the price of losing its benefits is high. It’s important to educate patients about exercise, and essential that they continue for the long term.”

Summary: The heart is like any other muscle. Exercise to keep it healthy - even after a heart attack. The benefits of exercise to a recovering heart are too great to ignore.

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