Exercise could ‘kickstart’ dormant heart cells says study

Regular and strenuous cycling could help repair the heart says study

Regular daily exercise could repair heart muscles which had previously been damaged due to a heart attack according to a recent study.

Testing on rats, scientists at Liverpool John Moores University in England discovered that two weeks of regular exercise resulted in a seven per cent increase in the number of cardiomyocites (or ‘beating cells’) in the heart.

However the exercise has to be regular and it must be strenuous say the scientists. By strenuous they point to 30 minutes of jogging or cycling which is tough enough to work up a sweat and which we can get you doing no problem at Overland Park Boot Camp.

Up until now scientists have been able to ‘jump start’ dormant cardiomyocites in the heart by injecting them with chemicals. This latest study is the first to show that exercise appears to have more or less the same effect.

Lead researcher Dr Georgina Ellison, told European Heart Journal: “The exercise is increasing the growth factors which are activating the stem cells to go on and repair the heart, and this is the first time that this potential has been shown.

The findings also mean that patients recovering from a heart attack may be better off  having their exercise programs increased to something a bit more strenuous than that currently recommended by doctors and nursing staff.

Dr Ellison explained: “In a normal cardiac rehabilitation programme patients do undertake exercise, but what we are saying is maybe to be more effective it needs to be carried out at a higher intensity, in order to activate the resident stem cells,” she said.

Meanwhile researchers are warning that it’s not enough to do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day then sit in front of a computer or at a desk for the rest of the time.

A study of 91 healthy woman aged 40 to 75 over a period of one week showed that those who exercised for 30 minutes a day spent the rest of the day sedentary believing they’d already got their exercise quota in the for the day.

Professor Lynette Craft, of Northwestern University in Chicago put them right.

She said: “We all know someone who gets in a good workout every day but then spends a large portion of it sitting in front of a computer with few breaks.

“If these people could replace some of the sitting with light activity – just getting up, moving around, maybe standing up when talking on the phone, walking down the hall instead of sending an email – we do think they could gain health benefits.

“I think some people assume: “If I’m getting my 30 to 40 minutes of physical activity a day, I’m doing what I need to do for my health.”

Here at Overland Park Boot Camp we’d like to know – does this sound like you??

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