Diabetes, Heart and Cardiovascular Diseases News Chronicle.  Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Heart Diseases
 Article 319
    Published on April 5, 2018

Heart failure risk could be reversed among sedentary people with aerobic intensity exercise

Heart failure is the most common reason for hospital admissions among people aged more than 65 years. The left ventricle of the heart pumps blood rich with oxygen and energy throughout the body and to organs including the heart and heart muscle. The sedentary lifestyle of an individual causes stiffening of the heart muscles including muscles of left ventricle leading to reduced heart's blood pumping functionality, a condition known as heart failure. Heart chambers of those peoples found to be nonelastic, small and unable to pump sufficient blood. Some of the symptoms of heart failure condition are.

  • Difficulty in performing daily routine activities such as shopping, using steps and walking.
  • Cough.
  • Feeling of tiredness.
  • Shortness of breath.

In people aged less than 65 years, the heart has the ability to change its size, shape, structure and its functionality. These features lack in individuals aged more than 65 years. Earlier studies have shown marked improvement in the cardiac compliance among young people with one-year exercise training program. Heart chambers of competitive masters-level athletes found to be elastic.

Researchers at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine (IEEM), Dallas, Texas, have conducted a study to find out whether heart's elasticity can be restored among sedentary individuals (aged less than 65 years with stiff heart muscles) with prolonged aerobic intensity exercise.

They conducted studies among 53 healthy participants aged between 45 to 64, but leading a sedentary lifestyle. Researchers have divided the participants into two groups. Participants of the study group were under supervised aerobic intensity exercise which includes high and moderate-intensity aerobic exercises for two years. Participants of the control group were under yoga and balance training such as balance leg and arm reaches, lunges and hops. The exercise regimen is with following features.

  • Performing 30-minute exercise or workout. Exercise program includes high aerobic intensity exercise or workouts such as aerobic interval training.
  • Heartbeat rates increase to 95 percent of peak rate for four minutes during these high-intensity workouts followed by three minutes of recovery and should be repeated for four times (called as 4 x 4 interval training).

Improvements observed by the researchers at the end of two-year exercise program are

  • 18 percent improvement in the maximum rate of oxygen intake or consumption (VO2 max) during exercise. VO2 shows cardiorespiratory fitness of an individual.
  • 25 percent improvement in the elastic nature of the left ventricular muscles of the heart.

Study results show a reversal of damage to ageing hearts of sedentary middle-aged people with a two-year exercise program. But an individual should perform those exercises regularly for at least four to five times in a week to reverse damage to ageing hearts.

Researchers say their study shows noncompetitive athletes aged less than 65 years too can have heart chambers with characteristics similar to competitive masters-level athletes if they perform regular and dedicated high and moderate-intensity aerobic exercises over decades.

Aerobic intensity exercise such as aerobic interval training restores heart's elasticity elastic nature.

The senior author of the study was Professor Benjamin D. Levine, MD, Internal Medicine and also Distinguished Professorship in Exercise Sciences, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Texas, the United States. The study findings were published January 8, 2018, in the Circulation. Title of the article was "Reversing the Cardiac Effects of Sedentary Aging in Middle Age - A Randomized Controlled Trial: Implications For Heart Failure Prevention." DOI : dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.030617

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