While many professional associations and scientific groups differ on minimum exercise requirements, a recommendation you hear thrown around a lot is, “Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day, 5 days a week“. In fact, the American Heart Association makes the same exercise recommendations for overall cardiovascular health.
But is this enough to help reduce risk for heart failure – events that affect over 5 million people in the US and are responsible for 1 in 9 deaths? A new study seems to show that these exercise levels may not be optimal for reducing risk.
A new meta-analysis published this week in the journal Circulation found that 30 minutes a day most days of the week probably doesn’t cut it when it comes to heart failure event risk reduction.
The researchers looked at 370,460 men and women who had varying levels of physical activity. They were followed over 15 years and collectively experienced more than 20,000 heart failure events.
Activity was self-reported, but analysis of the data indicates that the 30-minutes-a-day exercise adherents had “modest reductions” in heart failure risk compared to “substantial risk reduction” of 20 percent and 35 percent if they exercised twice or four times that amount (respectively).
Of course heart disease is a multi-faceted condition, and heart failure events aren’t the only objective endpoints researchers can study. But if you’ve been looking for a reason to ramp your physical activity – this study shows it can’t hurt – and may in fact be worth your while!