Should Exercise Be Part of Cardiac Rehab For The Elderly?

Many physicians and insurance companies believe that cardiac rehab does not help the elderly. Are they right?

No according to Dr. Stephan Gielen, Deputy Director of Cardiology at the University Hospital, Martin-Luther-University of Halle, Germany.

The results of a new study, published by the American Heart Association, concludes that exercise, regardless of the age of the heart patient,
  1. Counteracts muscle breakdown
  2. Increases strength and
  3. Reduces inflammation caused by aging and heart failure.
This study makes it clear that the benefits of exercise for heart failure patients of any age are less muscle-wasting, and an increased ability to do more exercise over time.

How Was The Study Conducted?

 The researchers used 60 heart-failure patients and 60 healthy volunteers. Half of the group was 55 years and younger, while the other half was 65 years and older. Half of the group underwent four weeks of supervised aerobic training, while the other half did not exercise.

The exercised group underwent 20 minutes of aerobic exercise each day, for five days a week in addition to one 60 minute group exercise session. The results showed that the heart-failure patients 55 and under increased their peak oxygen uptake by 25%, while the older group increased their peak oxygen uptake by 27%.

The findings of this study indicate that exercise is therapeutic even for elderly heart failure patients when it comes to reducing muscle breakdown and wasting associated with heart failure.

Of course, it would be better to not experience heart failure or a heart attack in the first place.

How To Reduce Your Heart Attack Risk

There are certain controllable risk factors that can reduce your risk of a heart attack or heart failure.

You can
  1. Avoid smoking
  2. Keep your blood pressure at healthy levels
  3. Keep your cholesterol levels low
  4. Reduce your weight to healthy levels and
  5. Stay physically active
 Start today to keep your risk low of ever having to experience a heart attack or heart failure by keeping yourself healthy and fit. If you do experience heart problems, work with your health professionals to start the appropriate exercise fitness routine and cardiac rehab program to prevent muscle breakdown and wasting associated with heart failure.And this is true of everyone of any age.

Charles A. Pennison


American Heart Association: " Exercise Slows Muscle Wasting From Age And Heart Failure "
American Heart Association: " Heart Attack Risk Assessment "