Regular exercise is key to heart disease prevention, reveals study
10/11/2022 // Zoey Sky // Views

According to a recent British study published in Circulation, the American Heart Association's journal, exercising regularly is key to maintaining heart health.

Exercising regularly can help reduce heart failure risk

More than six million adults in the U.S. have heart failure, a chronic, progressive disease that develops when your heart is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to keep up with your body's needs.

Atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure) and obesity are all risk factors for heart failure. In 2019 alone, over 86,000 Americans died because of this potentially life-threatening condition.

Many studies suggest that controlling risk factors can help ease the severity of heart failure symptoms and improve quality of life. It may also help prevent heart problems in the first place.

The results of the Cardiology study show that exercising regularly can help reduce heart failure risk.

During the six-year study, researchers examined data from more than 94,000 older adults with no history of heart failure. The research team used wrist accelerometers to measure the amount and intensity of the exercise undertaken by the volunteers.

Data showed that the volunteers who logged a weekly 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity lowered their heart failure risk by as much as 63 percent. Meanwhile, those who logged at least 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity every week reduced their heart failure risk by at least 66 percent.

Dr. Frederick K. Ho, lead co-author, noted that the study results added to the "overwhelming" body of evidence suggesting that even a modest amount of regular exercise is key to preventing many chronic conditions. (Related: Weight training or gardening for 30 to 60 minutes per week can help reduce risk of early death by 20%.)


Sedentary lifestyle is bad for your heart health

Heart failure includes symptoms like fatigue, wheezing and shortness of breath and it can often lead to a decreased capacity for physical activity. But exercise, especially when undertaken in a medically supervised program, may offer many health benefits for heart failure patients.

Many studies also suggest that exercising regularly can help reduce hospitalizations and mortality while also improving functional capacity, endothelial function and quality of life.

Meanwhile, studies have found that physical inactivity was linked to heart disease. A sedentary lifestyle may also worsen the outcome once a patient develops heart disease.

In a study published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, scientists reported that 2.5 years after being admitted to the hospital for heart failure, only 25 percent of patients with a sedentary lifestyle were still alive.

On the other hand, physically active patients had a 75 percent survival rate, highlighting the significant benefits of regular physical activity.

Health benefits of regular physical activity

Many studies have shown that exercise boosts cardiac function in several ways.

Here are some of the amazing health benefits of exercise for heart health and overall well-being:

  • Exercise helps promote a healthy weight, which then helps prevent obesity and other related conditions such as high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes.
  • It also promotes healthy circulation and elimination, helping to detoxify and clear the body of waste and harmful compounds.
  • Exercise improves oxygen utilization and reduces the release of inflammatory molecules in the body while alleviating stress. This is important because data suggests that stress has been shown to negatively affect heart health.
  • Physical activity also helps strengthen your muscles, including the most important muscle of all: your heart.

Experts have also found that those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and obesity may benefit the most from regular physical activity.

Busy people may favor vigorous exercise to make the most of their time, but Ho and his fellow researchers think moderate physical activity based on your current lifestyle and health status is a safer choice.

Ho explained that they recommend moderate physical activity because it is "generally safer" and easier to incorporate into daily routines. The research team also advised caution for anyone starting a new physical activity regimen to prevent injuries or acute adverse events, such as "a heart attack in a formerly sedentary person initiating a vigorous exercise program."

If you're one of those just starting a new exercise regimen, you can start slow with brisk walking, which falls into the category of moderate activity. If you are someone who often goes on regular walks, Ho suggests gradually increasing your speed to increase the intensity and potential benefits.

Those who want to exercise more than the suggested amount can do so after consulting with a physician, particularly if they have previously been diagnosed with a heart condition.

The study results suggest that going beyond the current AHA recommendations for moderate activity of 150 to 300 minutes per week may offer even greater protection against heart failure. However, the researchers also warned against exercising too much, which can cause injuries or adverse events.

If you want to try other activities aside from walking, other AHA-recommended forms of moderate exercise include ballroom dancing, biking at speeds of under 10 miles an hour and water aerobics.

Here are other tips for reducing your heart disease risk:

  • Know your family history.
  • Manage your blood pressure
  • Control your cholesterol.
  • Follow a balanced diet. Eat a lot of nutrient-rich foods and eliminate sweets and junk food.
  • Limit alcohol consumption to only one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. If possible, cut out alcohol completely.
  • Stop smoking tobacco or other inhaled substances like electronic cigarettes or vapes.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Learn the warning signs of heart attack and stroke, which may include chest discomfort, breaking out in a cold sweat, lightheadedness, shortness of breath and pain in the arms, back, neck or jaw.

Even if you don't hit your goal of weekly exercise hours, physical activity is still beneficial in any amount or intensity.

Ho said that the study results suggest that "every physical movement counts." The most important thing is to start exercising.

Even a leisurely 10-minute walk is better than not exercising, added Ho.

Don't just binge-watching TV shows for hours when you have free time. Make sure you also exercise daily, even if it's just a quick walk around the block to help boost your heart health and lower heart failure risk.

Visit for more tips on how to improve your heart health.

Watch the video below and learn how fresh watermelon juice can help boost your heart health.

This video is from the Groovy Bee channel on

More related stories:

Study: Walking for an extra 10 minutes daily can increase your life expectancy.

Weight training or gardening for 30 to 60 minutes per week can help reduce risk of early death by 20%.

Just got home from a run? Here are 15 foods you can eat to fulfill your goals.

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