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research round-up
The benefi ts of exercising after a heart attack are
lost if the patient doesn’t continue working out,
say scientists from Switzerland. We fi nd out more
don’t stop
me now
R
ecent research makes a
compelling argument for
people to keep up regular
exercise after a heart attack.
Scientists have found that any type of
physical activity helps improve blood
vessel health and blood flow in patients
who have had a myocardial infraction
(MI), but that these benefits disappear
within one month if exercise stops.
OCK.COM
a closer look
.IST
The study, carried out by scientists at
the Cardiac Rehabilitation Centre, the

WWW
Clinique Valmont-Genolier in Glion-sur-
Montreux and the University of PICTURE:
Lausanne – both in Switzerland – was If you’ve had a heart attack, you must keep exercising to maintain the benefits
based on 209 patients who had been
referred for cardiac rehab after an MI. function (the endothelium is the inner unexpected findings
The results of the study were published lining of the blood vessels; when it doesn’t However, after one month of no
in March in the journal Circulation. perform properly, the risk of a blood exercise, the researchers discovered that
The authors knew that exercise clot – which can ultimately lead to a heart all FMD measures returned to their
benefi tted patients with coronary heart attack – greatly increases). This was pre-study levels. This stresses the
disease, but wanted to determine which assessed via fl ow-mediated dilation (FMD) importance of continued exercise to
types of physical activity had the most – how much the blood vessel widens to maintain benefits – a finding of clear
impact. To do this, participants in the increase blood fl ow. FMD was recorded interest to the health and fitness industry.
trial were randomly assigned to four before, after the four weeks of exercise, “Cardiac rehabilitation is cheap,”
groups: aerobic training, resistance and a month after training stopped. Vona commented to the New York Times.
training, aerobic and resistance training At the start of the study, FMD was “But the price of losing its benefi ts is
combined, and a control group that did measured at 4 per cent in all four groups. high. It’s important to educate patients
no training at all. After the four-week training period, about exercise, and essential that they
Those in the aerobic training group this increased to 10 per cent in all three continue for the long term.”
had four weekly sessions comprising a exercise groups, but only increased to 5 In a separate interview with HealthDay
10-minute warm-up, 40 minutes’ cycling per cent in the control group. News, Dr Johnny Lee, an assistant
to take the heart rate up to a maximum While cardiac rehab programmes clinical professor of medicine at Mount
of 75 per cent, and a 10-minute cool- tend to focus on aerobic exercise such Sinai Medical Center in New York
down. Resistance training consisted of as running, jogging and swimming, these City, suggested that there were also
four weekly sessions of 10 exercises fi ndings show that there could also be implications for healthy people: “This
with resistance bands and weights. Each a place for resistance training too. Lead applies to the sickest patients – if you
exercise lasted 45 seconds to a minute, author Dr Margherita Vona says this gives stop, you are going to lose the benefi t.
with 15–30 seconds’ recovery in between. patients reason to “carry out several [But] it shows that continuing to exercise
During the study, the researchers types of physical activity to avoid exercise can only have a positive effect if you are a
measured participants’ endothelial boredom” while still gaining the benefi ts. normal subject with no heart disease.”
38 Read Health Club Management online june 2009 © cybertrek 2009
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