In a new study, researchers found that exercise reduces the severity of heart failure, improves heart function, and increases work capacity.
The intensity of the training is really important to achieve this effect
The research was conducted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
In the study, the researchers went to great lengths to investigate what happens inside tiny heart muscle cells after regular exercise.
They found that exercise improves important properties both in the way heart muscle cells handle calcium and in conducting electrical signals in the heart.
These improvements enable the heart to beat more vigorously and can counteract life-threatening heart rhythm disorders.
The team says when people get up to take a walk, the heart automatically starts beating a little faster and pumping a little harder so that the blood supply is adapted to the increased level of activity.
The higher the intensity of the activity, the harder the heart has to work.
Exercise strengthens the heart so it can pump more blood out to the rest of the body with each beat. Thus, well-trained people have a lower resting heart rate than people who have not done regular endurance training.
At the other end of the continuum are people with heart failure.
Here the pumping capacity of the heart is so weak that the organs no longer receive enough blood to maintain good functioning.
People with heart failure have a low tolerance for exercise and often get out of breath with minimal effort.
In other words, increasing the pumping power to the heart is absolutely crucial for the quality of life and health of people with heart failure.
This study has mostly considered the effects of high-intensity interval training. The team says moderate exercise can also bring some health benefits.
But, they emphasize, the vast majority of improvements were greater with interval training.
One author of the study is Tomas Stølen.
The study is published in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology.
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