Volume 11, Issue 77 September 15, 2014
If you've had a heart attack,
don't exercise too much
I've said for years that the toxicity of any substance is in the dose. No matter what the substance is, there is a dose that's beneficial and a dose that's toxic. That is as true for toxic substances like drugs as it is for critical nutrients such as vitamin C.

The thing that is so wonderful about natural therapies is that the toxic dose is so much higher than it is in drugs. In most cases, the toxic dose for nutrients is so high that it is impossible to reach without really trying to.

And it turns out, this truth about dosage applies to more than just substances. According to a new study, it is true for exercise as well. How much exercise you get is extremely important. And some people get way too much.

Paul Williams, PhD is a researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif. Dr. Williams says that his data clearly shows that when it comes to exercise, "More isn't always better." Especially when the exercisers are people who have had prior heart attacks.

Dr. Williams looked at nearly 2,400 patients who had recovered from a previous heart attack. He followed them for over 10 years. He was looking specifically at runners and walkers. What he initially found was not all that surprising. In general, those who regularly ran and/or walked reduced their risk of dying from a heart attack by a whopping 65%. And the more they exercised the lower their risk. But then it did get surprising.

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The men and women who were regularly running more than 30 miles a week or walking more than 46 miles a week had the opposite effect. Instead of having a lower risk, their risk of having a repeat heart attack more than doubled compared to those who exercised less.

And here's another surprising outcome of the study. The heart benefits of walking compared to running were equivalent as long as the same amount of calories were burned. Although burning the same amount of calories by walking takes roughly twice as long as it does for running, as long as walkers put the time in, their benefit was equal to the runners.

Now keep in mind that this study was limited to people who already had heart disease. The findings do not necessarily apply to people who are free of heart disease. On Wednesday, I'll tell you what the proper dose of exercise is for people without heart disease.

Yours for better health,

Williams, PT, Thompson, PD. "Increased Cardiovascular Disease Mortality Associated With Excessive Exercise in Heart Attack Survivors," Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Vol. 89 Iss. 9, August 12, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.05.006).

"For Heart Attack Survivors, More Exercise Isn't Always Better, Study Says" By Kathleen Doheny, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News).

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