A new study published in the journal Circulation has shown that increased duration, frequency, and intensity of physical activity may significantly decrease the risk of hospitalization or death due to heart failure.
The study included over 94,000 participants from the UK Biobank who did not have a history of heart failure and had not previously had a heart attack. At the start of the study, each participant wore a device that measured their levels of physical activity 24 hours a day for seven consecutive days. After collecting this physical activity data, the authors of the study followed up with each participant for a median of over 6 years and collected information on the participants’ health using hospital and death records.
An analysis of the data showed that participants who recorded 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity during the week of measurement had a 63% lower risk of heart failure during the follow-up period compared to participants who had minimal or no physical activity. Similarly, participants who recorded 75-150 minutes of vigorous physical activity during the measurement week had a 66% lower risk of heart failure compared to those who recorded minimal or no activity.
The authors noted that in their study, any amount of physical activity was better than no activity. Even a 10-minute walk once a day can be beneficial for the heart — especially if it is at a brisk pace, which increases the intensity. The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, but the authors also noted that going well beyond this recommendation may lead to additional heart benefits. Their results showed that cardiovascular risk continued to decrease up until 500 minutes per week of moderate activity.