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Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
Date:3/16/2009

But inactivity makes benefit vanish quickly, researchers say

MONDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- Any exercise program can improve blood flow after a heart attack, but the benefit vanishes just four weeks after exercise is stopped, a new Swiss study finds.

"The main goal of our study was to determine the impact of different types of exercise on vascular [blood vessel] function," said Dr. Margherita Vona, director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at the Clinique Valmont-Genolier in Glion sur Montreux. "The conclusion was that in our patients, after a heart attack, all types of exercise were useful for correcting vascular dysfunction, without any difference among aerobic, resistance or combined training."

But the improvement in blood flow seen in the 209 heart attack survivors enrolled in the program was lost four weeks after they stopped exercising, according to the report in the March 31 issue of Circulation.

"These data imply that good, long-term adherence to training programs is necessary to maintain vascular benefits on endothelial dysfunction," Vona said.

The endothelium is the inner lining of blood vessels. Its failure to perform efficiently increases the risk of a blood clot that can block an artery, causing a heart attack.

Participants in the trial were randomly assigned to aerobic training, resistance training, a combination of aerobic and resistance training, or no training at all.

Those who did aerobic training had four weekly sessions, including a 10-minute warm-up, 40 minutes of cycling that increased the heart rate to 75 percent of maximum and a 10-minute cool-down. Resistance training had four weekly sessions of 10 exercises with weights and rubber bands, lasting 45 seconds to one minute, with recovery intervals of 15 to 30 seconds.

Endothelial function was measured by flow-mediated dilation (FMD), the amount that blood vessels widen to increase blo
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