ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
Put Your Best Foot Forward Next Year
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
CANCER
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
CAREGIVING
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
DIABETES
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Coffee Drinkers Might Live Longer
Eating in America Still Unhealthy
The Raw Food Diet
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Small Doses of Carbon Monoxide Might Help Stroke Victims
Seasons Arriving 2 Days Earlier, Study Says
Golf Course Insecticides Pose Little Danger to Players
EYE CARE, VISION
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
FITNESS
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
The Yearly Flu Shot Debate
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
Lower Vitamin D Levels in Blacks May Up Heart Risks
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Drink Away Dementia?
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
Add your Article

Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- For people in cardiac rehabilitation who are overweight, longer but slower walks are better for losing weight and improving heart health than shorter, brisker walks, a new study has found.

Frequent long, slow walks -- 45 minutes to 60 minutes a day at a moderate pace, five to six days a week -- were found to burn more calories, improve cardiac function, reduce weight and body fat. The standard regimen for cardiac rehabilitation involves walking, biking or rowing for 25 minutes to 40 minutes at brisk pace three times a week.

"The benefits of weight loss in cardiac patients have not been all that clear," said Dr. Philip A. Ades, a professor of medicine and director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and the study's lead researcher. "And docs are usually pessimistic that their patients can accomplish weight loss."

In fact, most cardiac rehabilitation programs have not been effective in weight loss, Ades said.

"The reason people don't lose weight in cardiac rehab is they don't burn enough calories with their exercise," he said.

Walking can burn more calories than biking or swimming, Ades explained, because walkers support their total body weight by themselves, rather than having a bike or water support their weight. People have to bike or swim a lot more, he said, to gain the same calorie-burning effect as walking.

The report is published in the May 11 online edition of Circulation.

The study involved 74 overweight people with coronary heart disease, also called coronary artery disease, who were enrolled in a cardiac rehabilitation program. They were randomly assigned to an exercise regimen designed to burn 3,000 to 3,500 calories a week or to a standard rehab exercise program designed to burn 700 to 800 calories a week.

The high-calorie expenditure program was based on exercise that was not more intensive than standard rehabilitation but was done more often (five to seven times a week, rather than three) and longer (45 minutes to 60 minutes a session, rather than 25 to 40), according to the study. Participants did not begin walking for an hour each session but gradually built up their ability, Ades said.

Exercise for the standard rehabilitation group included a combination of walking and biking or rowing.

Being overweight increases the risk of heart attacks and increases other risks factors, including cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, the researchers noted.

After five months, people in the high-calorie-burning group -- those taking the longer, slower, more frequent walks -- had greater improvement in insulin sensitivity, cholesterol, blood pressure and cardio and respiratory fitness than did people in the standard exercise group, the researchers found.

In addition, the long, slow walkers lost an average of 18 pounds, compared with 8 pounds among those in the standard rehabilitation group, and they lost more body fat (13 pounds versus 6) and inches from their waistlines (2.7 versus 2 inches) than the others.

A year after the study ended, people in the high-calorie-burning group had regained an average of 2.9 pounds and those in the standard treatment group had regained about two pounds. Weight and body fat remained lower in both groups than it had been when they started, the researchers said.

"However you lose weight is good for heart patients and should reduce their risk," Ades said. "But don't forget the exercise. It's a big part of how to lose weight. Walking daily, walking far, really made a big difference in reducing cardiac risk."

Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a cardiology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said he thinks the regimen from the study would be worth trying in people in cardiac rehabilitation programs.

"There is an ever-increasing proportion of individuals who are overweight or obese," Fonarow said. "Achieving a healthy body weight is a challenge, even among patients who are referred to formal cardiac rehabilitation programs."

The study demonstrated that a new exercise protocol aimed at maximizing exercise-related calorie expenditures was more effective in achieving weight loss than a standard cardiac rehabilitation exercise regimen, Fonarow said. "There was also improved insulin sensitivity, lipid levels and inflammatory markers with the high-calorie expenditure regimen," he said.

"This new high-calorie expenditure protocol should be considered for overweight and obese patients referred to cardiac rehabilitation who are eligible for a five-to-six-times-a-week exercise regimen," he said.

More information

The American Heart Association has more on cardiac rehabilitation.



SOURCES: Philip A. Ades, M.D., professor of medicine, director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, Vt.; Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., professor, cardiology, University of California, Los Angeles; May 11, 2009, Circulation, online

Last Updated: May 11, 2009

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