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Contrary to what most people believe to be true about the best way to exercise for heart health, the medical facts simply don’t support it.

Do you believe that your leisurely walk is the best weapon against sudden heart failure?

How about riding a stationary bike or walking on a treadmill for 45 minutes?

Or better yet. How about doing one of those Tae-Bo classes or spinning classes?

Bad News!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you are doing any of the above in hopes of strengthening your heart and losing fat, then your efforts may be in vain.

A comprehensive study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that the recovery of your heart rate immediately after exercise is a risk factor for sudden death.

delayed fall in the heart rate one minute after exercise may be one of the most important markers for heart health.

The Study

For six years 5713 adults between the ages of 42 and 53 years without a history of heart disease were put through exercise testing.

The participants were tested to see how quick their heart rates recovered.

The recovery of heart rate was defined as the decrease in the heart rate from peak exercise to one minute after the cessation of exercise.

An abnormal value for the recovery of heart rate was defined as a reduction of 12 beats per minute or less from the heart rate at peak exercise.

The results from the study concluded that a delayed decrease in the heart rate during the first minute after maximal exercise was strongly predictive of sudden death.

Another study discovered that the rate at which your heart increases from a resting level to the peak exercise level was also linked to a risk of sudden death.


The risk of sudden death was increased in:

  • Subjects with a resting heart rate that was more than 75 beats per minute.
  • Subjects with an increase in heart rate during exercise that was less than 89 beats per minute.
  • Subjects with a decrease in heart rate of less than 12 beats per minute after the termination of exercise.


-Dr. Jerome Craig

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The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Grisanti and his functional medicine community. Dr. Grisanti encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. Visit www.FunctionalMedicineUniversity.com for more information on our training in functional medicine. Look for practitioners who have successfully completed the Functional Medicine University’s Certification Program (CFMP) www.functionalmedicinedoctors.com. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Dr. Grisanti is required.