Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Resistance Training the Myocardial Infarction Patient

I’m going to preface this post by stating that I am not a physician. I’m a personal trainer and sports performance coach. You should consult your physician before starting any exercise program.

This post is kind of a follow up to one of my previous posts.

I’ve noticed that the most common prescription at cardiac rehab centers is walking for their patients following a myocardial infarction (MI or heart attack). While I know that it is important to implement cardiovascular training, I've always wondered why they aren't doing resistance training. Are they afraid they'll valsalva causing them to have an aneurysm and stroke out? What about EPOC? I've always thought that the heart is a muscle and you should exercise it as such. So, I did some research and found that cardiovascular training combined with strength training elicited the best results. In this study published in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, they state:

"Combined training soon after MI improved aerobic and muscle fitness more than cycling alone, and was performed without complication."

In this study, not only did the test subjects increase muscular strength, their VO2 max (maximal oxygen uptake) also increased more so than the group who just did cardiovascular exercise. So, for the MI patient, find a qualified trainer and start picking up those weights!

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