Exercise After Heart Attack
Friday, July 3, 2009

Exercise helps people recover after a heart attack but the benefits vanish when the workouts stop. Dr. Edward Hill discusses exercise options after a haert attack in today’s 60 Second Housecall.

Heart attack survivors have their pick of aerobics, resistance training or both types of exercise to help their blood vessel function–but they need to stick with it.

Swiss researchers studied 200 heart attack survivors, splitting the patients into four groups.

The first group of patients was assigned to get 40 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise on a stationary bike four times per week for four weeks. The second group did resistance training using weights and resistance bands four times per week for four weeks.

The third group of patients did two weekly sessions of aerobic exercise and two sessions per week of resistance training.

The fourth group was told to avoid physical activity.

Patients in the three exercise groups showed similar improvements in endothelial function—the blood vessels’ ability to contract and relax. Those improvements trumped the sedentary group's results.

The patients followed with a month off from exercise. Researchers said that lull wiped out all the endothelial function benefits seen earlier.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, I’m Dr. Edward Hill.