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HHS HealthBeat (December 20, 2011)

Making your heart race

A man runs to catch the bus – Credit: Photo by Chris Smith
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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Nicholas Garlow with HHS HealthBeat.

Exercise on a regular basis and you’ll decrease your risk for heart problems. But suddenly run down the street to catch the bus, or shovel the snow, and your risk of a heart attack or cardiac arrest jumps like your heart does.

Jessica Paulus is an assistant professor of medicine at Tufts University in Boston.

She and her colleagues reviewed data from 14 studies to find that: 

“There are short-term increases in risk of heart attack and death from sudden cardiac events that follow episodic physical activity.” (9 seconds)

People felt the effects of sporadic activity just one or two hours later. Risk was highest for those who did not get regular exercise.

The study in the Journal of the American Medical Association was supported by the National Institutes of Health. 

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Nicholas Garlow.

Last revised: December 20, 2011