Physical activity: More is better for heart failure prevention

October 5, 2015, American Heart Association

Doubling or quadrupling the minimum federally recommended levels of physical activity lowered the risk of developing heart failure by 20 percent and 35 percent, respectively, according to research published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

"Walking 30 minutes a day as recommended in the U.S. physical activity guidelines, may not be good enough—significantly more physical activity may be necessary to reduce the risk of " said Jarett D. Berry, M.D., senior author of the study and an associate professor of internal medicine and clinical sciences at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas.

Heart failure occurs when the heart is not able to supply adequate amounts of blood to the rest of the body and is characterized by shortness of breath and a reduced ability to exercise.

The researchers found that the current U.S. physical activity guidelines recommendation of a minimum of at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week was associated with only a modest reduction in heart failure risk, and suggest that higher levels of physical activity, up to twice the minimum recommended dose, is needed to reduce the risk of heart failure, according to Berry.

They also found a "dose-dependent" inverse association between physical activity and heart failure, that is, higher levels of physical activity were associated with a lower risk of heart failure. This relationship was consistent across all age, sex, race, and geographic location based subgroups studied.

Although the role of physical activity in - the narrowing of the arteries that causes heart attacks - has been comprehensively studied, this study focused exclusively on the quantitative relationship between the amount, or specific "dose" of and the risk of heart failure.

The researchers pooled data from 12 studies from United States and Europe that collectively included 370,460 individuals with varying levels of physical activity at baseline and 20,203 heart failure events over a mean follow-up of 15 years. Physical activity was measured by self-reported levels of activity by study participants using standard questionnaires. This, they say, gave them the opportunity to assess the dose-response relationship between physical activity and heart failure risk in the general population.

Current U.S. and American Heart Association physical activity guidelines for adults recommend a minimum of at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity such as brisk walking, however, both the federal guidelines and the American Heart Association suggest that more physical activity is even better.

"Future should take these findings into consideration, and potentially provide stronger recommendations regarding the value of higher amounts of physical activity for the prevention of heart failure," said Ambarish Pandey, M.D., lead author of the study and a cardiology fellow at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas.

"If you look at the general population," Berry said, "we've had tremendous success in reducing coronary heart disease over the last 30 years. But heart failure rates have not declined enough. The findings from the present study suggest that of may help combat this growing burden of heart failure."

Explore further: Moderate physical activity associated with lower risk of heart failure in men

Related Stories

Moderate physical activity associated with lower risk of heart failure in men

August 12, 2015
Men who participated in moderate amounts of physical activity, particularly walking and bicycling, were associated with a lower risk of future heart failure compared to those with lower and higher levels of activity. However, ...

Exercising more, sitting less reduces heart failure risk in men

January 21, 2014
Sitting for long periods increases heart failure risk in men, even for those who exercise regularly, according to new research published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Heart Failure.

Some exercise is better than none; more is better to reduce heart disease risk

August 1, 2011
Even small amounts of physical activity will help reduce heart disease risk, and the benefit increases as the amount of activity increases, according to a quantitative review reported in Circulation, journal of the American ...

Sex does not increase heart attack risk

September 21, 2015
Sex is rarely the cause of a heart attack, and most heart disease patients are safe to resume sexual activity after a heart attack, according to a research letter published today in the Journal of the American College of ...

An hour of moderate exercise a day may decrease heart failure risk

September 2, 2014
In a new study reported in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Heart Failure, researchers say more than an hour of moderate or half an hour of vigorous exercise per day may lower your risk of heart failure ...

Exercise protects against heart failure even at advanced ages

November 15, 2012
(HealthDay)—Among older adults, physical activity may protect against heart failure, as indicated by lower levels of N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) and cardiac troponin T (cTnT), according to a study ...

Recommended for you

Can stem cells help a diseased heart heal itself? Researchers achieve important milestone

December 14, 2018
A team of Rutgers scientists, including Leonard Lee and Shaohua Li, have taken an important step toward the goal of making diseased hearts heal themselves—a new model that would reduce the need for bypass surgery, heart ...

Your weight history may predict your heart failure risk

December 12, 2018
In a medical records analysis of information gathered on more than 6,000 people, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers conclude that simply asking older adult patients about their weight history at ages 20 and 40 could provide ...

New understanding of mysterious 'hereditary swelling'

December 12, 2018
For the first time ever, biomedical researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, report cellular defects that lead to a rare disease, hereditary angioedema (HAE), in which patients experience recurrent episodes of swelling ...

Age is the biggest risk for heart disease, but lifestyle and meds have impact

December 12, 2018
Of all the risk factors for heart disease, age is the strongest predictor of potential trouble.

Higher risk of heart attack on Christmas Eve

December 12, 2018
The risk of heart attack peaks at around 10pm on Christmas Eve, particularly for older and sicker people, most likely due to heightened emotional stress, finds a Swedish study in this week's Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Researchers have found that incidence of heart failure was around two-fold higher in people with diabetes

December 11, 2018
Researchers have found that incidence of heart failure was around two-fold higher in people with diabetes.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.