By: on In Living Healthy

Exercise May Help the Heart to Survive a Heart Attack

We are sure everyone knows by now that a healthy lifestyle includes regular exercise. And by now we are also sure that you know the innumerable health benefits associated with it, one of which is that it lowers your risk of having a heart attack.

However, now, exercise can also boast that it can actually help the heart to survive a heart attack

A new study suggests that being physically active increases the chances of survival after a heart attack. Researchers compared exercise levels among 1,664 heart attack patients in Denmark, including 425 who died immediately. Those that were physically fit and participated in regular exercise were found less likely to die, and proportionately, the risk of death decreased as exercise levels rose. The study was published April 12 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

“We know that exercise protects people against having a heart attack,” said study co-author Eva Prescott, a professor of cardiovascular prevention and rehabilitation at the University of Copenhagen.

“Animal studies suggest that myocardial infarctions [heart attacks] are smaller and less likely to be fatal in animals that exercise. We wanted to see if exercise was linked with less serious myocardial infarctions in people,” she added in a journal news release.

“One possible explanation is that people who exercise may develop collateral blood vessels in the heart which ensure the heart continues to get enough blood after a blockage.

Exercise may also increase levels of chemical substances that improve blood flow and reduce injury to the heart from a heart attack,” Prescott said.

She added this caveat: “This was an observational study so we cannot conclude that the associations are causal [cause and effect]. The results need to be confirmed before we can make strong recommendations.

“But,” Prescott went on to say, “I think it’s safe to say that we already knew exercise was good for health and this might indicate that continuing to exercise even after developing atherosclerosis [hardening of the arteries] may reduce the seriousness of a heart attack if it does occur.”

Will this be the wake-up call that millions of people across the world need to get up off their couches and get active? Not only here at home, but on a global scale, it seems that physical fitness is falling to the wayside as technology booms and we are given more and more reasons to stay inside in a stationary position.

Just remember, nobody is asking you to run a marathon or compete in a strongman competition, but sometimes it is small steps in the right direction that can make all the differences.