IT’S NEVER TO LATE TO WORK TOWARDS INCREASING YOUR LEVEL OF FITNESS
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 5, 2016 WAS "NATIONAL WEAR RED DAY"
Wearing red would have shown that you "support educational programs to increase WOMEN’s awareness and critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health" according to the American Heart Association site. I am sorry to have missed that recognition day, because recently published research shows that a prior higher fitness level is linked to a reduced risk of early death after first heart attack in WOMEN and MEN. A CBS ARTICLE discussing this research goes into greater detail.
So, even if you suffer this scary health event, there is some reason to be optimistic if you have a higher level of fitness beforehand. The original research article published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings concludes that “high baseline EC” or exercise capacity, measured by a treadmill stress test performed an average of 6 years before 2061 patients experienced a myocardial infarction (MI), “was independently associated with a significantly decreased risk of mortality at 28, 90, and 365 days after a first MI.” The patients were an average age of 62 years +/- 12 years.
The authors go on to say that this represents “further evidence” that it is a worthwhile strategy for clinical doctors to promote adequate physical activity as a means to improve EC in their high-risk patients” and that a high level of fitness is an “important protective factor against both the INCIDENCE of MI and SURVIVAL AFTER a first MI episode." I added the capital letters in that sentence, as this is the first study to establish the effect of prior fitness after such an event. The authors used statistical methods to see if the results would be the same if patients had in reality changed their fitness level between the time of the test measurement and the MI, a period as far out as 6 years. It was! In patients measured 3 years before the MI, the evidence was even stronger!
If you or a family member has a high risk for heart disease, it’s never too late to pick up the pace and exercise 30-60 minutes a day, most days of the week. YOU CAN POTENTIALLY REDUCE some of the influence your “bad” genes and body habitus (waistline) have on your health!
NOTE: If you’re wondering how the test was run, the following is the described method: “The treadmill speed was set initially at 2.7 km/h and then increased to 4.0, 5.4, 6.7, 8.0, and 8.8 km/h at minute 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15, respectively. In the first 3 minutes, the grade was set at 10%, followed by a 2% increase every 3 minutes. The patient exercised for 3 minutes in each stage. If necessary to complete the test, patients were allowed to hold on to the handrail for support and balance. Exercise capacity, expressed in estimated metabolic equivalents (METs), was calculated with the treadmill controller system (Q-Stress, Quinton Instruments) using achieved speed and elevation and was categorized into 4 groups: less than 6, 6 to 9, 10 to 11, and 12 or greater METs.”
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Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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