Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A New New Year's Reason To Work Out: Exercise Improves Three Measures Of Heart Protection

Date:
January 24, 2005
Source:
American Physiological Society
Summary:
For decades, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was prescribed for postmenopausal women to protect them from cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, results from the Women's Health Initiative questioned its effectiveness, which has led to more caution in prescribing and using HRT for this purpose.

BETHESDA, Md. (Jan. 20, 2005) – For decades, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was prescribed for postmenopausal women to protect them from cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, results from the Women's Health Initiative questioned its effectiveness, which has led to more caution in prescribing and using HRT for this purpose.

Related Articles


So, are there other ways women can decrease their risk of heart disease? Yes – and new evidence shows that exercise may be the easiest.

According to a new study, women who are more physically fit have better blood clotting profiles than women who are unfit. These positive results were evident in three different measures of the hemostatic (blood clotting) system that have previously been linked to heart attacks.

Lead author Linda Szymanski explains: "Everyone benefits from being physically fit, regardless of whether they are on HRT or not. This is particularly good news for women who are either unwilling or unable to take HRT because they can gain cardioprotective benefits by becoming physically fit. You want as many reasons as you can to get people out there to exercise.

"In our study, fitness provided benefits that are not as obvious and are not usually measured by doctors or health clubs, unlike cholesterol, blood pressure, or body weight."

Szymanski got the idea for this study because "We all know exercise is linked with reduced heart attacks. Everyone says this is because exercise lowers your cholesterol, etc., but the bottom line is it's usually a blood clot that causes a heart attack." The researchers thought exercise must have other benefits and so they tested blood-clotting variables, including clotting and fibrinolysis – the ability to prevent or break up blood clots.

The study, "Relationship of physical fitness, hormone replacement therapy and hemostatic risk factors in postmenopausal women," was conducted by Linda M. Szymanski, Craig M. Kessler and Bo Fernhall. The research appears in the online edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology, published by the American Physiological Society.

In this study, a number of blood clotting variables were studied in four groups of women (12 in each group) – women on HRT who were fit and unfit, and women not taking HRT who were fit and unfit, before and after a maximal exercise test. The well-known "stress test" is usually used to diagnose or test for heart disease, or to find out how fit someone is before allowing him or her to embark on an exercise program. In this case the stress test was to check how the blood clotting system reacted – and unfit women didn't respond well by any measure.

Tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), an enzyme made by the body that breaks up blood clots, was higher in physically fit women compared to unfit women. Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, a blood substance that inhibits TPA, was lower in physically fit women. And, a marker that indicates blood clot activation -- prothrombin fragment 1+2 -- was also lower in fit women. Together these results suggest that exercisers may be better able to prevent the formation of blood clots, and may be one reason why exercisers are less likely to have heart attacks.

<b>Next steps</b>

The authors note that although the correlations in the study between general fitness and healthy blood clotting measurements are very strong, the results are essentially a "snapshot" of current health conditions and associations, but don't prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

The authors are currently conducting longitudinal studies to further examine the relationship between exercise and blood clotting, and other cardiovascular risk factors.

Szymanski, who now is a third-year resident in gynecology and obstetrics, noted that the "Women's Health Initiative made everyone think more carefully about hormones and many women are now more cautious about starting hormones. Therefore, other ways to improve heart disease risk are needed." Despite the inherent limitations to the cross-sectional study, the authors emphasize that their research shows that "increased physical fitness is associated with risk reducing hemostatic profiles in postmenopausal women, which may lead to significant health benefits."

<b>Source and funding</b>

The study, "Relationship of physical fitness, hormone replacement therapy and hemostatic risk factors in postmenopausal women," was conducted by Linda M. Szymanski, Craig M. Kessler and Bo Fernhall. The research appears in the online edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology, published by the American Physiological Society. The study was carried out when the three authors were at George Washington University, Washington D.C.

Currently, Szymanski is at the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, Baltimore; Kessler is at Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C.; Fernhall is at the University of Illinois, Champaign (and was at Syracuse University when the paper was submitted).

Research was supported in part by a grant from the Life Fitness Academy, which supports research by young faculty and graduate students. Life Fitness, which makes exercise equipment, is a subsidiary of Brunswick Corp.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Physiological Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Physiological Society. "A New New Year's Reason To Work Out: Exercise Improves Three Measures Of Heart Protection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050123212812.htm>.
American Physiological Society. (2005, January 24). A New New Year's Reason To Work Out: Exercise Improves Three Measures Of Heart Protection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050123212812.htm
American Physiological Society. "A New New Year's Reason To Work Out: Exercise Improves Three Measures Of Heart Protection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050123212812.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins