Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Of course, it is common knowledge that exercise is good for the heart. We exercise, we lose weight, we get fitter cardiovascular wise and generally, we lessen our risk of hypertension and diabetes, and there is even some evidence that it may improve colateral circulation and ischemic preconditioning.
All these we know. Getting it done is another thing. We may also like to know, how much is how good?
Well, the researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, led by Dr Jacob Sattelmain, published a paper, carried by the August 1st, online issue of Circulation. They did a meta-analysis of exercise and CV risk reduction, of 26 large clinical trial on exercise and the heart, carried out since 1997. They found that exercising 150 mins a week, in moderately intensive exercise, reduced the CV risk by 14%. The more exercise you do, the better. Doing moderately intensive exercise reduce CV risk by 20% and dong it 750 mins a week, reduces CV risk by 25%. The benefit seems proportional to the time you put in. Fret not. Those who do not exercise, should they begin to exercise, even low level exercises, also derived some benefit, but not as much as 14% annually. For some reason, the benefit for females are a little better than males.
Whenever I ask my patients to exercise, there are usually 3 groups of responses. One group of course will proudly say that they are exercising, and going to the gym. The second group will say that they were exercising before, have fallen back and will restart again. The third group will make all kinds of excuses to say that they cannot exercise. In Malaysia, amongst the most common is street crime. Old ladies will tell me that they can only walk in their house compound for fear of snatch thief. The most severe of these type of excuses is a 40+ male, who had previous angioplasty. He is medium size, well built, about 75Kg. He said that he had difficulty exercising regularly as he needs to wait for a group of his friends. The crime in his area is so bad, that males move around in groups, as the assailants ( and there have been many ), comes around arm with machetes. They slash and cut first, before asking any questions. The Police knows, but can do little about it. This is the worse example that I have heard. I have no means of knowing if it is true of false.
Nonetheless, it is true that exercise is good for the heart. 150-750 mins a week is obviously good, and very good. For those who are couch potatoes, start exercising. Even the little that you do, will help you. Do not put it off. Start today. ( Please exercise safely !!!).


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