Study links increased duration and intensity of activity with reduced heart failure risk

A new study has found that boosting the duration, intensity, and frequency of physical activity may lower future heart failure risk.

The study, published in the American Heart Association Journal, describes how researchers conducted a six-year analysis of more 94,000 adults in the UK with no history of heart failure.

Led by the University of Glasgow, the research was one of the first to use objectively measured activity levels to estimate the risk of heart failure. The results were found to be consistent with previous studies which found that performing 150-300 minutes of moderate or 75-150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week is enough to reduce the chance of heart attacks and strokes, when compared to those who logged minimal or no activity per week.

Co-author of the study Dr Frederick K. Ho, from the School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health at the University of Glasgow, said: “These findings indicate that every physical movement counts. A leisurely, 10-minute walk is better than sitting and no physical activity.”

Although the study has reinforced previous findings from other research, it cannot prove a cause-and-effect link between the amount of exercise and the risk of heart failure. The sample group used was also predominantly white, and the University of Glasgow has highlighted the need for further study using those from a more diverse range of backgrounds who may receive negative social determination of health.

Professor of Metabolic Medicine at Glasgow University, Naveed Sattar, said of the research: “Our findings add to the overwhelming body of other evidence, suggesting that maintaining even a modest amount of physical activity can help prevent a range of chronic conditions from developing, including heart failure.”