(Cover) – EN Fitness & Wellbeing – A new study claims that exercising immediately after experiencing a heart attack could significantly reduce the risk of death.

It’s common knowledge that keeping fit and active can prevent the development of cardiovascular health problems, but researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, now believe that exercise could be key in maintaining a healthy heart following an attack.

Researchers obtained the data of 22,227 Swedish patients who had a myocardial infarction (heart attack) between 2005 and 2013, and having asked each individual how often they worked out for a minimum of 30 minutes per week, they categorised every person as either constantly inactive, reduced activity, increased activity, or constantly active.

A total of 1,087 patients died during an average follow-up time of 4.2 years, and after making adjustments to account for factors like age, sex and smoking, the team found that the risk of death was 59 per cent less likely in those that were constantly active compared to those who never worked out. The figure stood at 51 per cent in those in the increased activity category, and 37 per cent for those who met the reduced activity criteria.

“Our study shows that patients can reduce their risk of death by becoming physically active after a heart attack,” said lead author Dr Orjan Ekblom. “Exercising twice or more a week should be automatically advocated for heart attack patients in the same way that they receive advice to stop smoking, improve diet, and reduce stress.”

However, the research did not analyse the effects of specific types of exercise, and Dr Ekblom believes this is something future studies should take into consideration.

“Should patients do resistance exercise, aerobic training, or a combination, for example? Is walking sufficient or do patients need more vigorous exercise which makes them short of breath?” he mused. “Answering these questions will help us to give more specific advice.”

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