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Daily walks lower risk of AFib and stroke

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 8 months ago

New research presented at the European Society of Cardiology suggests that engaging in exercise, even as simple as a daily walk, can help lower the risk of atrial fibrillation (AFib) and stroke. The study analyzed data from over 15,000 individuals without prior AFib who underwent exercise treadmill testing between 2003-2012. The results showed that greater exercise performance was associated with lower rates of AFib. Even a simple walk each day was found to be beneficial.

Participants were divided into three fitness levels based on their metabolic equivalents (METs) achieved during the treadmill test. The study found that the probability of remaining without AFib over a five-year period was higher in the medium and high fitness groups compared to the low fitness group. The study author, Dr. Shih-Hsien Sung, emphasized that exercise capacity is influenced by various factors, such as age and existing health conditions. Encouraging daily walking training may help mitigate the risks of AFib.

The research also suggests that exercise may further reduce the risks of stroke, beyond the risks associated with AFib. This is significant considering that over 12 million people are projected to have AFib by 2030, according to the American Heart Association. AFib is characterized by an irregular heartbeat and can lead to complications such as blood clots, stroke, and heart failure.

Cardiac experts interviewed for the study confirmed the benefits of exercise for cardiovascular health. Regular physical activity can lead to improved weight loss, blood pressure, lipid profiles, glucose control, and reduced incidence of heart attacks and heart failure. However, they cautioned individuals with existing cardiac conditions to consult with their healthcare providers before starting an exercise program.

The exact exercise recommendations for heart health may vary from person to person, so it's important not to compare one's routine with others. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, along with muscle-strengthening activities. Aerobic activities like walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling, and strength training exercises using resistance bands or weights are recommended.

In conclusion, the research supports the notion that exercise, even in the form of a daily walk, can help lower the risk of AFib and stroke. Engaging in regular physical activity is beneficial for overall cardiovascular health, but individuals should consult with their healthcare providers before starting a new exercise routine.

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