Don't Let Your Heart Rest

Heart attack patients get better results from exercise programs

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) It has been shown that exercise is good for your heart. Yet there is a common belief that people need to give their heart some rest after a heart attack. However, getting active after a heart attack can actually be the best choice.

The sooner patients start exercising after a heart attack, the better their heart will heal, according to recent research. In addition, the heart will heal better if patients keep exercising for at least six months after their heart attack.

"Exercising soon after a heart attack is good for your heart."

In the past, says Alex Clark from the University of Alberta, doctors have told heart attack patients to wait for one month before starting exercise treatment. However, Clark notes, this study's findings show that patients do not need to wait so long. In fact, the results seem better if patients start exercise treatment sooner.

According to Mark Haykowsky, also from the University of Alberta, it is important to get rid of the idea that heart attack patients need to let their heart rest.

"Exercise is a wonder drug that hasn't been bottled," Haykowsky concludes.

In Depth

A team of researchers from the United States and Canada looked at more than 20 years of studies in order to assess the benefits and harms of exercise - defined as aerobic exercise with a group.

There findings show that:

  • Patients who started an exercise program one week after their heart attack had the best heart function
  • For every week that patients waited to start exercising, they had to exercise for one month longer to get similar results to those who started sooner
  • Patients got the best results if they continued to exercise for at least six months after their heart attack
  • Starting an exercise program sooner does not have any seriously harmful effects
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 25, 2011
Last Updated:
April 29, 2011