Sustained periods of exercise may reduced the risk of heart failure.
The University of Buffalo has participated in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), which was founded by the National Institutes of Health in March of 1993. WHI research began with specific goals such as determining the long-term effect of birth control pills on women. Like the Framingham Heart Study, researchers have found multiple uses for the data it has generated. Michael J. LaMonte, PhD and Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Buffalo, JoAnn E. Manson, DrPh, MD, Professor of Epidemiology at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard, et al, studied the information on 137,303 women in the WHI, to get a deeper understanding of exercise and heart health. They learned that women who walked for exercise had a lower risk of heart failure, after all the usual adjustments for smoking, alcohol consumption etc. Specifically, they found that:
Each additional 30 to 45 minutes per day of activity was associated, on average, with a risk reduction of nine percent of overall heart failure.
Interestingly, the amount of time spent walking was more important than the speed. Again, from the study:
Physical activity and walking were inversely associated with the development of heart failure, whereas intensity-specific (mild, moderate, intense) physical activity was not. That suggests that it’s the amount, not the intensity of physical activity performed that can help prevent heart failure later in life.
Take a nice long leisurely walk.