Tags: Heart Disease | exercise | reverse | damage | hearts | aging

Exercise Can Reverse Damage to Aging Hearts

Exercise Can Reverse Damage to Aging Hearts
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By    |   Monday, 08 January 2018 03:08 PM

If you're a couch potato worried about your heart, you can take charge and reverse damage that's already occurred if you begin in time, says a new study by cardiologists at UT Southwestern and Texas Health Resources.

To gain the most benefit, you should begin exercising before the age of 65, since the heart still retains the ability to remodel itself, say researchers, and you need to exercise four to five times a week. According to previous studies, two to three times a week isn't enough.

"Based on a series of studies performed by our team over the past five years, this 'dose' of exercise has become my prescription for life," said senior author Dr. Benjamin Levine, Director of the Institute and Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern. "I think people should be able to do this as part of their personal hygiene — just like brushing your teeth and taking a shower."

In general, the recommended exercise consists of 30-minute sessions, plus warmup and cool-down. One weekly session included a high-intensity workout, such as aerobic interval sessions—the so-called 4x4 session where a person exercises at a high rate for four minutes, with three minutes of recovery, repeated four times.

One session lasted an hour and was of moderate activity, which could be a fun activity such as playing tennis, biking, walking, or dancing.

One or two other weekly sessions consisted of moderate activity in which the participant would be a little short of breath but still be able to carry on a conversation. Another session or two concentrated on strength training using weights or exercise machines.

Study participants were divided into two groups. One group received two years of supervised exercise training, while the control group participated in yoga and balance training.

At the end of the study, those who had exercised showed an 18 percent improvement in their maximum oxygen uptake during exercise.

They also improved more than 25 percent in elasticity of the left ventricular muscle of the heart, the chamber that pumps oxygen-rich blood back out to the body.

"When the muscle stiffens, you get high pressure and the heart chamber doesn't fill as well with blood. In its most severe form, blood can back up into the lungs. That's when heart failure develops," said Dr. Levine,

The study appears in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.

Combining yoga with aerobic exercise can also benefit hearts. Patients with heart disease who participate in yoga as well as aerobic exercise doubled reductions in blood pressure, body mass index, and cholesterol levels when compared to patients who practiced only yoga or aerobic exercise, says a recent report sponsored by the American College of Cardiology.

Heart patients were divided into three groups — those who did aerobic exercise, those who practiced Indian yoga, and a group that participated in both yoga and aerobic exercise. At the end of six months, all three groups showed improvement in blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol, and triglycerides, but those who did both showed two times greater reductions.

"Combined Indian yoga and aerobic exercise reduces mental, physical and vascular stress, and can lead to decreased cardiovascular mortality and morbidity," said researcher Sonal Tanwar. "Heart disease patients could benefit from learning Indian yoga and making it a routine part of daily life."

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If you're a couch potato worried about your heart, you can take charge and reverse damage that's already occurred if you begin in time, says a new study by cardiologists at UT Southwestern and Texas Health Resources. To gain the most benefit, you should begin exercising...
exercise, reverse, damage, hearts, aging
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2018-08-08
Monday, 08 January 2018 03:08 PM
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