Exercise 5 times per week for about 20-25 minutes to reduce heart attack and death risk by 46 percent

The more risk factors for a heart attack which you reduce, the less likely you are to clog your coronary arteries and have a coronary or cardiac arrest. According to the ongoing Nurses Health Study, they have confirmed what some of us have known for decades. Reduce your weight, reduce your blood pressure, consume little alcohol, don't smoke, plus avoid smoky places and smokers; exercise several times per week and eat a healthy diet with lots of vegetables and fruit, and you'll have a low risk of heart problems. The more good things you do for yourself, the greater is the prospect of seeing your grand children graduate!

Working up a slight sweat for a modest amount of time 5 days a week gives you most of the protection from heart attacks which exercise offers. Make the above 6 changes too. And take a baby (81 mg) aspirin a day if it's OK with your Doctor.

According to November, 1997 American Heart Association report...

Frequent exercise workouts are more important than long grueling workouts.

You don't have to exercise for 30-minutes every to get most of the benefits 
from exercise, say scientists at the American Heart Association.
Reviewing the exercise habits of more than 22,000 men involved in a 12-year 
study of health behaviors of physicians, researchers found:
The risk of heart attack and death from heart disease declined steadily as the 
frequency of vigorous exercise increased from one to five times weekly. 

No need to exercise for an hour at a time for a healthy heart.

Longer exercise periods will, of course, give you greater physical endurance.

You don't have to exercise for 30-minutes every to get most of the benefits 
from exercise, say scientists at the American Heart Association.
Reviewing the exercise habits of more than 22,000 men involved in a 12-year 
study of health behaviors of physicians, researchers found:
The risk of heart attack and death from heart disease declined steadily as the 
frequency of vigorous exercise increased from one to five times weekly. 
However, the benefits of physical activity did not increase further after 24 
minutes per exercise period.
We’ve known for decades that physical activity reduces the risk of heart 
disease and heart attack: this study shows the importance of exercise 
frequency.

Results confirm logic.

Results show that men who exercised five or more times a week had 46 
percent fewer heart attacks and a 44 percent lower risk of heart attacks and 
deaths due to heart disease, compared to men who exercised less often than 
once a week. Duh. No surprize there.
Physical activity was defined as “exercise vigorous enough to work up a 
sweat.” 

Four exercise frequency groups, four exercise duration groups

The MDs were placed into four categories of exercise frequency: less than once a 
week, once a week, two to four times weekly, and five or more times a week. 
Exercise duration categories were: 10 minutes or less per episode, 11-24 
minutes, 25-40 minutes, and more than 40 minutes per episode.
The risk of heart attack decreased by 36 percent among those who exercised 
one to two times a week, 38 percent for those who exercised more than three 
to four times a week, and 46 percent among men who exercised five or more 
times weekly. The combined risk of heart attack or death due to one or more 
heart attack decreased about the same amount.
The effect of exercise duration was greatest among men who worked out for 
11- 24 minutes per exercise episode or longer. Men in that duration category 
had a 46 percent lower risk of heart attack and 35 percent lower combined 
risk of heart attack or death from heart disease, as compared to the men 
whose physical activity lasted 10 minutes or less. These benefits did not 
increase significantly for men who reported longer periods of physical 
activity.

That is right. The 11-24 exercise minutes, five days a week exercise person reaps the biggest healthy heart gains.

This study suggests that how often a person exercises is a more important 
factor in reducing the risk of heart disease, than exercise duration. 
The results should also apply to women who exercise.
Other factors, such as blood pressure, cholesterol level, smoking, alcohol 
consumption and use of aspirin and obesity change your risk of a heart attack. 

The Heart association will eventually catch up with its own research and suggest your 2 hours of exercise be 5 times 24 minutes or 6 times 20 minutes, instead of the current recommendation of 4 times 30 minutes.

As of August 1999, the American Heart Association recommends frequent workouts 
that last 30 minutes or longer for three-to-four days per week, or more often.
The Physicians’ Health Study (PHS), initiated in the mid-1980s, has been 
accumulating data on the health and health behaviors of 22,071 male 
physicians, ages 40-84 years old when the study began. All the men were free 
of heart disease when the study commenced.

Women too!

A study of women who exercised with brisk walking released in August 1999, showed similar heart healthy gains.

3 hours per week of brisk walking decreased heart attacks by nearly 40 percent. 5 hours per week ladies cut their risk by over 50 percent. (Accordig to analysis of the 72,488 women in the Nurses Health Study)


Gentle and enjoyable exercise is the key to regular healthy exercise and a healthy life
American Heart Association web site
Improve your cholesterol count
More health and fitness topics from author and Registered Nurse David Holt
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Reduce heart attack and death risk by 46 percent