The first advice mainstream doctors often give to heart disease patients is to lose weight.
On some level, this makes sense. The lower your body weight, the easier it is for your heart to pump blood through it.
But a major new study shows that losing weight does NOT help heart patients live longer. In fact, for some of them, it actually increases the risk of death.
Norwegian researchers followed 3,307 heart patients for an average of 16 years.
They were surprised to find that losing weight didn’t help subjects live longer. And it raised the risk of death for patients who were already a normal weight.1
Normal-weight patients increased their death risk by 30% when they lowered their BMI by more than 0.10.
Weight gain, on the other hand, was not associated with mortality.
The Best Medicine for Your Heart
While the study clearly showed that weight loss doesn’t improve heart health, it found something that does…
Compared to sedentary patients, those who exercised 150 minutes a week reduced their death risk by 19%. Those who exercised even more had a 36% reduction in mortality.
Dr. Trine Moholdt led the study. She’s a research fellow at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
“Being active had large effects, and doing even a little bit is better than doing nothing,” she said.
The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Health Watch readers know that when it comes to exercise, we recommend high-intensity interval training. HIIT is all about maximizing results while minimizing time spent in the gym. The average session lasts 20 minutes or less.
But don’t let the duration fool you… This kind of exercise comes with bigger health benefits than long hours of traditional cardio.
Dr. Benjamin Levine recently led a study focused on HIIT. He said it “caused a reversal of decades of a sedentary lifestyle on the heart.”
Reaping the benefits of HIIT requires some dedication. You need to do it four to five times a week.
And it’s important not to wait too long to start. Dr. Levine notes that after age 65, heart weakness is more difficult to reverse.
The basic formula for HIIT is simple. Warm up for three to five minutes…then go at an all-out pace for the next minute. Go longer if you can. Then slow to a jog for the next minute or two.
Repeat this process five to seven times and then cool down for at least two minutes.
You can apply the HIIT principle to just about any type of cardio exercise… A treadmill, a bike, elliptical machine, stair climber, rowing machine, or swimming all work well2
Four Reasons to Switch to High Intensity Interval Training
- Promotes Heart Health: You’ve just read about losing weight and its ill effects on your heart. But too much exercise can also be harmful. Long-distance running can leave your heart scarred. HIIT works differently. Two weeks of HIIT raises your aerobic capacity as much as two months of steady-state cardio. And it puts less strain on your heart over time. Research shows a high aerobic capacity could be the best predictor of 10-year survival rates among heart disease patients.3
- Eases Depression: Drugs for depression carry serious side effects…like insomnia, hypertension, and even suicide. Meanwhile, one study found more than 60% of subjects doing HIIT cut their depression symptoms in half. It only took eight weeks to see results.4
- Reduces Stroke Risk: HIIT may reduce your risk of stroke by as much as 63%. Research shows HIIT increases oxygen uptake and aerobic capacity. These two factors can help prevent a repeat stroke.5
- Extends Your Life: Researchers found that switching to HIIT can lower your overall death risk by about 30%.
Editor’s Note: Discover the real cause—it’s not plaque itself—of heart attacks… A doctor-recommended exercise that could be killing your heart… The natural supplement that puts statins to shame… And an antioxidant shown to reduce heart disease rates by 40%.
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