Light Activity Can Hold Back Heart Attack

Cardiovascular disease risk may be lowered by regular light indoor activity

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) While physical activity can help you have a healthy heart, not all activities are the same. While walking and stair climbing may fight heart disease, more intensive activity may not.

A new study found that light indoor activity, including climbing steps, doing laundry and mopping, helped ward off acute myocardial infarction (AMI), or heart attack.

The same research reports that sleep can help prevent heart attack, but it can’t be too little or too much.

"Get proper rest to maintain heart health."

Jian Gong, PhD, in the department of community health at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, collaborated on this research with scientists from University of Michigan, University of California–San Diego and the University of Massachusetts.

Investigators reviewed data on 1,999 patients from Costa Rica who had survived heart attacks. They had an equal number patients who had not had heart attacks as a control group.

Scientists observed that those who regularly did light indoor activities had less risk of heart attack. Participants were given scores to indicate how well they stuck with a certain physical activity pattern.

Those who had the worst scores in the light indoor activities category had about a 1.3 odds ratio for having a heart attack compared to the highest scorers who had an odds ration of about .375 for having a heart attack.

Researchers, however, detected no link between working agricultural or manual jobs and the risk of heart attack. People in these jobs appeared to have neither benefit or increased risk from their labor.

“It is possible that the protective effects of some activities in the agricultural job and manual labor job patterns, such as walking and climbing steps, are overshadowed by the potential detrimental effects of some very strenuous activities such as lifting and carrying,” wrote the authors.

In addition, the researchers noted that a “u-shaped” association with sleep and heart attack risk. Too little sleep or too much sleep was connected with increased heart attack risk. Results corresponded to similar previous studies showing a greater risk for heart disease and stroke in patients who habitually sleep less than six hours per night and those who sleep more than nine hours per night.

The study was published in February in BMC Public Health.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 16, 2013
Last Updated:
February 18, 2013