May 12, 2009

Longer, slower walks reduce heart risk

People who walked longer at a slower pace improved heart health more than those who walked a shorter distance at a brisker pace, U.S. researchers said.

The study, published in the Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, found an exercise program that burns a lot of calories reduced cardiac risk factors better than standard cardiac rehabilitation in overweight coronary patients.

The higher-caloric exercise, consisting of almost daily long-distance walking, resulted in double the weight loss and a greater fat mass loss than standard cardiac rehabilitation exercise, lead author Dr. Philip A. Ades of the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington, said in a statement. These patients improved their insulin sensitivity to a greater degree.

Seventy-four overweight cardiac rehabilitation patients were randomly selected to either a high-caloric expenditure exercise regimen -- walking for 45 to 60 minutes a day at a moderate pace for five to six days a week -- intended to burn 3,000 to 3,500 calories a week or a standard rehab therapy burning 700 to 800 calories weekly -- walking, biking or rowing for 25 to 40 minutes at a brisker pace three times a week.