What should coronary heart disease patients do every 20 minutes?

Canadian researchers say heart patients should aim to move every 20 minutes if they want to live longer.

Seven minutes of activity — such as standing up and light walking every 20 minutes, adding up to 21 minutes of movement for each hour spent sitting — is being advised for patients with coronary artery disease.

Previous research has shown that being sedentary for long periods can hasten death, but taking exercise breaks can lessen the risks, especially when burning more than 770kcal (3220kj) a day in “free living” energy expenditure.

“Our study shows that heart patients should interrupt sedentary time every 20 minutes with a seven-minute bout of light physical activity,” said study author Dr Ailar Ramadi.

“Simple activities such as standing up and walking at a casual pace will expend more than 770kcal in a day if done with this frequency and duration.”

“There is a lot of evidence now that sitting for long periods is bad for health,” said Dr Ramadi.

“Our study suggests that during each hour of sitting time, heart patients should take three breaks, which add up to 21 minutes of light physical activity.

“This will expend 770kcal a day, an amount associated with a lower risk of premature death.”

“Nevertheless, regular physical activity is key to achieving a healthy life, whether you are a cardiac patient or not,”

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Exercise for heart patients