More Is Better
People who regularly achieved twice the minimum federally recommended levels of physical activity had 20 percent lower risk of developing heart failure than those who met the minimum. People who regularly got four times the minimum physical activity recommendations had 35 percent lower risk, 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 heart failure” 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.
The researchers found that the current recommendation— designed for coronary heart disease risk — of at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week, was associated with only a modest reduction in heart failure risk.They suggest that higher levels, up to twice the minimum, are needed to reduce the risk of heart failure.
They also found 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.
The role of activity in coronary heart disease — the narrowing of the arteries that causes heart attacks — has been comprehensively studied. However, this study focused exclusively on the relationship between the specific “dose” of regular physical activity and the risk of heart failure.
The researchers pooled data from 12 studies that included 370,460 individuals with varying levels of physical activity at baseline and 20,203 heart failure events over 13 years. Physical activity was self-reported using standard questionnaires in most studies.
Current U.S. and American Heart Association physical activity guidelines for adults recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking; at least 75 minutes of vigorous activity; or an equal combination of both. However, both the federal guidelines and the American Heart Association suggest that more activity is even better.
“Future physical activity guidelines 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 higher levels of physical activity may help combat this growing burden of heart failure.”
Source: American Heart Association News