Ongoing Study of Wintertime Physical Activity of Cardiac Patients

It is well known that symptoms of coronary artery disease are more likely to occur when patient is exposured to cold. This can lead to reduced amount of physical exercise, although physical activity is crucial guideline of treatment and rehabilitation for coronary artery disease.

Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research (Oulu University, Finland) has started a project concerning how physical exercise and health enhancing physical activity influence on cardiac and circulatory function of patients with coronary artery disease. The aim of the study is to enhance and support the year-round physical activity, which is critical important for health of cardiac patients.

At the moment it is unknown if the guidelines for cardiac patients concerning health enhancing physical activity is safe also during cold wintertime, while both cold air and physical exercise are independent loading factors for cardiovascular system. It is crucial to know these combined effects, while patients with cardiac problems are suffering lack of heart function and hypoxia of heart muscle.

The main aim of the study is to highlight and focus existing guidelines of physical exercise to support and promote year-round physical activity of patients.

There will be 20 participants with background of coronary artery disease and heart attack on this experimental study. Participants will be exposed in four randomized experimental trials, which are taking place in thermal laboratory of Oulu University. The participants are exposured either cold (-15°C) or warm (+22°C) and task is either rest or exercise.

The project is cooperation of several institutes; including Oulu University, Oulu University Hospital, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and international experts from numerous institutes both from environmental health, cardiac health and sport sciences.

The three year lasting project is funded by Ministry of Education and Culture.