Exercise (especially interval training) heals a broken heart

Not only does exercise help lower blood pressure and lessen the likelihood of diabetes, it also can help heal diseased hearts.

A variety of recent studies, described in HeartWire, from the European Society of Cardiology suggest:

the randomized SMARTEX-HF study comparing aerobic interval training with moderate continuous training in about 200 patients.

The interval-training regimen is built on four four-minute intervals walking on the treadmill at 90% to 95% of peak heart rate, with three-minute “active pauses”–walking at 50% to 70% of peak heart rate–between each interval. Including warm-up and cool-down periods, the total workout lasts 38 minutes.

Patients in the moderate continued-training group will walk continuously at 70% to 75% of peak heart rate for 47 minutes.

The interval training produced much greater increases in the heart’s pumping function than usual aerobic exercise, and produced beneficial changes in heart structure.

For me, 90% of age-adjusted max in roughly 153 beats/min.  I try to do the treadmill to get to and stay at 145-150 beats/min, but this study suggests that for short periods, I should push harder.

treadmill exercise

Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See vascularanesthesia.com for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

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