Could increasing physical activity reduce the risk of heart failure

5 October 2015        

Two women running

Research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation suggests increasing physical activity above the minimum recommended amount could decrease the risk of developing heart failure.

The research, which included data from 12 studies from United States and Europe, found that the current U.S. physical activity guidelines recommendation of a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week, resulted in only a modest reduction in heart failure risk.

The research suggests that to improve prevention, higher levels of physical activity, up to twice the minimum recommended dose, are needed. It was found that doubling the minimum recommended levels of physical activity would lower the risk of developing heart failure by 20 per cent and quadrupling the minimum recommended levels would lower the risk by 35 per cent.

Maureen Talbot, our Senior Cardiac Nurse comments: “The importance of regular physical activity in maintaining good heart health is already well known as the heart is a muscle and works more efficiently when exercised. This study indicates that the risk of developing heart failure could be reduced by physical activity and that the reduction of this risk is greater if the levels of activity are greater. 

“Heart failure can be a devastating condition and the number of those affected in the UK remains stubbornly high. There are lots of reasons why you might be diagnosed with heart failure, with the most common cause being damage left behind after a heart attack. While there is currently no cure for heart failure, there are lots of positive steps you can take to reduce your risk such as quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and taking regular exercise

“While the results of this study are helpful and provide further motivation to the couch potatoes amongst us, it is still important that everyone be as active as they can manage to be.”