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Exercise Delays Heart Failure Symptoms in Rat Study

Low-intensity exercise postpones heart failure and improves survival

FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Low-level exercise delays decompensated heart failure and extends survival in hypertensive rats, according to a study in the November issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

Craig A. Emter, of the University of Colorado at Boulder, and colleagues assigned lean male rats with heart failure to two groups: sedentary or exercise-training at 9 months and 16 months of age. Exercise training consisted of six months of low-intensity treadmill running.

The researchers found that exercise training delayed the onset of overt heart failure and improved the rats' survival, independent of any effects on their hypertensive status. Exercise delayed other physical problems that emerged in the sedentary rats, the authors report.

"Our results indicate that six months of low-intensity exercise training delays the onset of decompensated heart failure and improves survival in the male [spontaneously hypertensive heart failure] rat," the authors write. "Similarly, exercise intervention prevented or suppressed alterations in several key variables that normally occur with the development of overt congestive heart failure. These data support the idea that exercise may be a useful and inexpensive intervention in the treatment of heart failure."

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