Regular physical exercise is quite important to treat heart failure.
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood for the body. Regular exercise can help control blood pressure, postpone heart cell death, and improve cardiac function.
In a recent study published in Autophagy, researchers examined how aerobic exercise protects people from heart failure.
They found that aerobic training can help remove dysfunctional mitochondria from heart cells. Mitochondria are called cell powerhouses, and they provide energy to cells for body functions.
The removal of dysfunctional mitochondria increases the supply of cell energy and reduce toxic molecules that can harm the cell structure.
In addition, the study showed that regular exercise can improve another cellular cleansing process called autophagy, which can help prevent heart failure.
The process was discovered by the Japanese scientist Yoshinori Ohsumi, who won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Medicine.
In the study, the researchers trained lab mice that had symptoms of heart failure.
The animals were placed on a treadmill running at moderate intensity (60 percent of maximum capacity) for 60 minutes once a day, five days a week, for eight weeks.
The researchers compared the results with those mice with heart failure that had remained sedentary and a group of sedentary mice with no heart failure.
The results showed that sedentary sick mice had 30% decrease in cardiac functions, but the in trained group, the heart function increase 40%.
In addition, exercise increased the size the heart, which was critical to improve heart function. In the trained sick mice, the heart failure symptoms were reversed.
The researchers suggest that physical training modulates the expression and/or activity of one or more key proteins that can improve cell energy function and restore its activity.
In the future, the researchers hope to design a drug to mimic or maximize the positive effect of physical activity on the heart.