How Moderate Exercise Can Help Your Heart Health
Engaging more often in moderate physical activity during the week could help many people lower their risk of heart failure, according to a new study.
Moderate exercise includes activities such as walking at a moderate or brisk pace, cycling, yoga, tennis, basketball, dancing, and recreational swimming.
More vigorous types of physical activity could also reduce the risk of heart failure, but researchers say very high amounts of vigorous exercise may not offer additional benefits.
In addition, they found that the benefits of vigorous physical activity were highest when people also engaged in moderate-intensity activities during the week.
This study fits with other research showing the link between regular exercise and improved heart health — including a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
But by using activity monitors to track how often and in what way people moved during the week, researchers were able to tease apart the separate heart-related benefits of moderate and vigorous physical activity.
Lower Heart Failure Risk
Researchers found that people who did 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity per week had a 63% lower risk of heart failure.
Those who logged 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week had a 66% lower risk of heart failure.
Both of these were in relation to people who did little to no moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.
Benefits Of Aditional Moderate Exercise
The study results also showed that for both moderate and vigorous physical activity, some heart-related benefits appeared even at low levels of activity.
The results also suggest that going beyond the minimum recommended level of moderate physical activity may provide greater protection against heart failure.
Researchers found that the risk of heart failure continued to drop for moderate physical activity levels up to 600 minutes per week. After that, the benefits plateaued.
For vigorous physical activity, the benefits were highest at 75 to 150 minutes per week, but only if people were also doing at least 300 minutes per week of moderate physical activity.
Some people choose vigorous exercise because they can get a more intense workout in a shorter time. But the results of this study suggest that vigorous activities alone may not be enough to provide the most benefit to the heart.
Exercising For Heart Health
Physical activity is also appropriate for people who already have a heart condition, although people with a heart condition — or other medical conditions — should check with their doctor before starting any new exercise program.
One of the most commonly recommended activities is walking, which carries a low risk of injury.
There are also many moderate physical activities that you may not think of as “exercise,” such as gardening and yard work, certain kinds of housework, playing with children, and shoveling snow.
You can also read our blog on Exercises For Heart Health here.