A recent study has revealed that recommended daily workouts are not enough in order to ward off heart failure. While doctors suggest exercising at moderate intensity for 30 minutes every day, it appears this amount of time should actually be doubled or quadrupled in order to achieve visible effects.
The findings were published on Monday in the journal Circulation, by experts from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Researchers reviewed 12 prior studies, which included 370,460 men and women, with different levels of physical activity. Each respondent had presented their daily schedule, which gave experts the possibility to assess the amount of exercise that every individual engaged in.
Correlations were made between these values and the number of heart failure events, which had amounted to 20,203 in a period of 15 years.
Although the American Heart Association urges people to work out for 30 minutes every day to prevent the onset of heart disease, it was established that such a routine actually led to “modest reductions” in heart failure risk.
There was just a difference of 15% to 22% between those who had sedentary lifestyles and those who exercised the recommended amount of time. On the other hand, experts identified “a substantial risk reduction”, of up to 35%, among study participants who had worked out for one or two hours every day.
These findings may come as a surprise to many, given that the 30-minute-a-day-exercise formula has been proposed as the magic solution against cardiovascular disease for such a long time. Sedentary lifestyles have been linked with a higher risk of heart attack and stroke, while working out has been proven to reduce blood pressure and atherosclerosis.
In fact, the American Heart Association advises middle-aged people to spend 2 hours and a half every week doing moderate exercise such as brisk walks. However, this is certainly not enough to protect against heart failure, especially when the individual has hypertension or diabetes.
Researchers point out that in fact physical activity and congestive heart failure are “dose dependent”. In other words, the more a person exercises, the lower the risk of suffering heart failure, irrespective of the person’s age, race or gender.
As a result, experts insist that health watchdogs and authorities, as well as general practitioners should recommend much higher doses of physical activity, as a preventive strategy against heart failure.
Those who already have busy schedules could engage in more vigorous exercise, because as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains, 30 minutes of high-intensity training are the equivalent of one hour of moderate activity. These exercises could be done on a daily basis, under a doctor’s supervision, so that patients with underlying health conditions don’t over-exert themselves.
Only this way will individuals indeed be guarded against heart failure, which already affects more than 5.1 million adults in the United States. This disease, which causes shortness of breath and reduces physical endurance, leaves the heart unable to pump enough blood to the rest of the body.
In fact, heart failure is one of the main culprits when it comes to hospitalizations and deaths among senior Americans. Even more worryingly, this “growing epidemic” which leads to annual health costs surpassing $30 billion, has been predicted to surge by 25% between 2010 and 2030.
Image Source: Pixabay