By Kennedy Shelley
The people who benefit the most from exercise are people with heart disease.
World class athletes might have to exercise, but those who have cardiovascular problems get the most life extension from exercise according to a new study from Korea.
The study looked at a group of people without heart disease and another with it and found that those suffering from cardiovascular problems benefited the most from the exercise program.
The results were a promising 14% reduction in heart disease related deaths.
The study did not prescribe an exercise regiment, but instead looked at insurance and health data.
Participants were asked to state if they were physically active. This could be anything from housework to intense aerobic exercise.
The participants were then asked questions which allowed the researchers to put the physical activity in standard terms called METS.
This is calculated by your weight and the exercise you are doing. Walking vigorously for 30 minutes five times a week will give you 500 METs.
People who were doing something active for at least 500 METs per week saw improvement in longevity.
It was a 7% improvement for normal people but 14% for those with bad hearts.
Of those who participated in the study, they found that half exercised less than 500 METs a week, and nearly 25% reported none at all.
People with heart disease were found to be more sedentary than the normal group, but if they were active, they stood a much greater chance of being alive during the six-year study.
This study was presented at the European Society of Cardiology annual conference.
South Korea has a national health insurance system, so it is possible for researchers to pore through vast amounts of health data to track outcomes for different conditions.
The group studied were between 40-60 and looked at over 400,000 people between 2009-15.
“There may be several plausible explanations for why people with [cardiovascular disease] benefited the most from exercise. First, sedentary lifestyle is a well-known risk factor for [cardiovascular disease].
Patients with [cardiovascular disease] may have had sedentary lifestyles, and thus, changing their lifestyle to become more physically active may be more beneficial,” notes study co-author Dr. Si-Hyuck Kang.
This study again points to the fact that people with heart disease should not quit physical activity.
The old prescription was bed rest, but now we can see that taking it easy is a quicker way to die.
Just 30 minutes of walking per day is enough to get 500 METs a week.
One vigorous session of hill climbing for 75 minutes will also get you 500 METs.
This study showed that 500 METs was the minimum threshold to get any benefit.
Going up to 1500 was even better, which would include the daily walking and two sessions of vigorous workouts.
The exercise seems to help reduce cardiovascular inflammation more and more doctors see as the root cause of heart disease.
“The 2016 European Society of Cardiology guideline for primary prevention recommends healthy adults of all ages should perform at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination,” Dr. Kang notes.
In short, there is no known downside to getting exercise, even if you have suffered damage to your heart.