In a new study from McMaster University, researchers found that stair-climbing routines, whether vigorous or moderate, provide strong heart and muscle benefits to people with heart disease.
The findings address the most frequently cited barriers to exercise: time, equipment, and access to gym facilities.
While it is widely known that exercise and lifestyle changes reduce the risk of secondary cardiovascular disease, research suggests less than a quarter of all cardiac patients adhere to fitness programs.
In the study, the team aimed to develop an exercise protocol that did not require specialized equipment or monitoring and could be easily performed outside a laboratory.
Participants with coronary artery disease who had undergone a cardiac procedure were assigned either to traditional moderate-intensity exercise or vigorous stair climbing:
Three rounds of six flights of 12 stairs, separated by recovery periods of walking, with participants selecting their own stepping pace.
The team found that people who had done traditional exercise and those who had done stair-climbing both increased their cardio-respiratory fitness after four weeks of supervised training and maintained those levels for an additional eight weeks of unsupervised training.
They also reported substantial muscular improvement.
The team says these patients who had undergone a coronary bypass or stent procedure had a muscle that was compromised, compared to age-matched healthy people.
This study shows vigorous stair-climbing and traditional moderate-intensity exercise both changed fitness, which is a key predictor of mortality after a cardiac event.
stair-climbing is a safe, efficient, and feasible option for cardiac rehabilitation, which is particularly relevant during the pandemic when many people don’t have the option to exercise in a gym
If you care about exercise and heart health, please read studies about 1 hour of this exercise per week may protect against heart attack, stroke and findings of more exercise after 60 may prevent heart attack, stroke.
For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about taking these two drugs may protect you from heart attack and stroke and results showing that middle-aged adults with this mental problem may have a heart attack easily.
The study is published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise and Frontiers. One author of the study is Maureen MacDonald.
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