ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Brazilian Mint Tea Naturally Good for Pain Relief
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
CANCER
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
CAREGIVING
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
Hispanic Children More Likely to Have Hearing Loss
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Holistic Dentistry-My View
DIABETES
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Caffeine May Offer Some Skin Cancer Protection
Purple Tomato Extended Lives of Cancer-Prone Mice
More Educated Choose Healthier Foods, But Pay More
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
FITNESS
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Sun, Smoke, Extra Weight Add Years to Skin
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
Combo Treatment Eases Wheezing in Babies
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
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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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