RECOVERING from a heart attack is not often associated with intense exercise, but Southern Cross University research shows a little pain can make a big difference.
Targeted at men, a Lismore study shows significant heath benefits can be had by changing standard cardiac disease rehabilitation exercises to include higher intensity interval training.
Now, after the success of the pilot study, the university is trying to find funding to continue the research with women.
Lead researcher Dr Suzanne Broadbent, from the School of Health and Human Sciences, said cardiac deaths after treatment could be reduced and quality of life improved.
"Traditionally, low to moderate intensity rehabilitation exercise is normally recommended for phase two cardiac patients - that is, patients who have been discharged from hospital after an event," she said.
"We thought higher intensity exercise intervals may benefit cardiac patients wishing to return to recreational sport, physically demanding employment or vigorous activities for daily living.
"The concern was that very high intensity interval training may not be a realistic form of training for cardiac patients."
That concern has been put to rest after the study's impressive results.
The study was conducted for 12 weeks, with 25 men doing three weekly sessions of cycling for 35 minutes of various intensity, followed by 25 minutes of resistance work and stretches. Benefits included lower blood pressure and heart rate and improved muscular strength.
- Eat healthy and stay active.
- Watch your weight.
- Quit smoking.
- Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
- Manage stress.
- See your GP for more tips.