A Small Amount of Exercise Can Instantly Protect the Heart

News of the Month 

It is widely known that exercise leads to a healthier heart over time. However, what is less known is that exercise stimulates heart benefits within just hours. A single workout is enough to yield clinically significant benefits. New research conducted by Dick Thijssen, PhD, refers to this phenomenon as ischemic, or cardiovascular, preconditioning. The reasoning behind this theory is that the repetition of exposing the heart to short, non-life-threatening, ischemic episodes conditions the heart to be more resistant to a more serious, future episode. This theory has existed since the mid-1980s. Dr. Thijssen and colleagues aimed to examine the evidence of this theory in existing preclinical studies and found that 1 to 3 workout sessions per week can strengthen the heart. Furthermore, they found that 1 single workout can provide cardioprotection for 2 to 3 hours and even longer, with benefits lasting 24 hours post-workout.

To learn more about current and emerging therapies for patients with heart problems, visit our online article titled: Heart Failure: Implications for Quality Improvement and Hands-on Training.

This activity is supported by an educational grant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.