get your exercise, people who exercise, up stairs

The American Heart Association urges Americans to exercise for heart attack prevention. But here’s another reason to lace up your sneakers. A Danish study has found that people who exercise regularly are much more likely to survive if they experience a heart attack.

Heart Attacks in Experimental Animals:

The scientists had noticed that animals allowed plenty of physical activity don’t suffer as much damage to their heart muscles when they have experimental myocardial infarctions. (That’s the technical term for a heart attack, abbreviated MI.) They decided to see whether that link to exercise held up in humans.

Results of the Copenhagen City Heart Study:

More than 14,000 healthy adults enrolled in the Copenhagen City Heart Study when it started in 1976. When the study began, the volunteers answered questions about their levels of leisure time physical activity. They were tracked through 2013.

During more than three decades of the study, 1,664 of these volunteers had a heart attack. Of these, 425 subjects died as a result.

People Who Exercise Are Less Likely to Drop Dead:

People who exercise moderately or intensely were 47 percent less likely to succumb immediately than sedentary individuals. Even those who engaged in light physical activity were 32 percent less likely to die right away if they suffered a MI. The more people exercised, the better their chances of survival.

Unfortunately, the protective effect of exercise went only so far. The investigators found no differences in the numbers of people who went on to develop heart failure after a heart attack.

Ejlersen et al, European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, April 11, 2017

As we have written here, exercise and stress relief, along with a healthful diet, are as important as medication in preventing a fatal heart attack.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.