Moderate amount of physical activity, particularly walking and bicycling, can significantly lower the risk of heart failure, says a study. The study revealed that participants who had the lowest levels of physical activity also had a 47 percent higher risk of heart failure.
When analysing the different types of physical activity, the study found that walking or bicycling for 20 minutes per day was associated with the largest risk reduction. "We found that recent activity may be more important for heart failure protection than past physical activity levels. The first incidence of heart failure in men was also later for those who actively walked or bicycled 20 minutes each day," said study co-author Andrea Bellavia from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.
When enrolling in the study, participants from two counties in Sweden completed a questionnaire about their current level of physical activity as well as that pursued in the previous year. Researchers assigned each type of physical activity an intensity score and concluded that walking or bicycling - consistently over the years - just 20 minutes per day was associated with a 21 percent lower risk of heart failure.
CommentsThey found that men who were active at the age of 30 but were inactive later at the time of study enrollment did not have a decreased risk of heart failure. The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure.