Senior African American Couple Exercising In Park

Post-menopausal women are less likely to die after suffering a first heart attack if they remain physically active and limit sitting time, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology/Lifestyle 2016 Scientific Sessions.

Researchers analyzed physical activity changes using metabolic equivalents in 838 postmenopausal women, with no history of coronary heart disease, who had their first heart attacks during the study.

METs are a measure of energy expenditure of various activities. 7.5 MET-hrs/week is equivalent to 150 minutes/week of moderate physical activity which is the current recommendation from the AHA and other agencies. Change in sitting time was also investigated in 514 women, prior to and after their first heart attacks at baseline, years three, and six.

They found, compared to women in the inactive group (less than 7.5 MET-hrs/week), the risk of dying from all causes during the study was:

  • Reduced by 57 percent for women who had been inactive before their heart attack but increased their activity to afterwards (7.5 MET-hrs/wk or more).
  • Reduced by 46 percent for women who were active before and remained active after their heart attack (maintaining 7.5 MET-hrs/wk).

They also found a 1 hour/day increase in sitting time after a heart attack was associated with a 9 percent increased the risk of dying from all causes.