Many studies have shown that physical activity is beneficial to an individual’s general well-being especially heart health. Moreover, even a single workout session can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke immediately, according to a review of studies.
“Our work provides new evidence on the potency of exercise as a heart protector, both in the short and the long term. Just don’t go for more than four or five days without exercising. Use it or lose it,” Dick Thijssen, lead author of the study, explained.
Thijssen and his team from Liverpool John Moores University conducted a review of studies on how physical activity protects the heart. Researchers carried out studies on mice and rats to determine whether exercise can decrease the size of a heart attack or not. In the study, the researchers focused on the studies where scientists had prompted a heart attack in rats by blocking an artery in the heart and then observed the size of a heart attack or evaluated how much tissue died. The researchers of the reviewed studies conducted this test in animals that just finished exercising. After that, they compared them with animals that did not exercise at all.
In one of the studies reviewed, blood was taken from humans after physical activity and after a period of rest and then was transfused through the blood vessels of live rabbits’ hearts. Then, an artery of the hearts of the rabbits was blocked, imitating a heart attack. The results showed that those rabbits that had the human blood taken after exercise had a smaller heart attack compared to those that had human blood after a period of rest.
The researchers of the review then concluded that all of the studies showed that even one session of exercise is linked with a smaller heart attack. In addition, they found that the ability of exercise to decrease the size of a heart attack lasts for a few more days. It is thought that exercise releases a blood-borne substance that plays a role in making a heart attack smaller after exercise. These benefits occurred in the absences of changes in heart risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and body weight, or improved heart function.