It’s well known that exercising regularly reduces the risk of heart attacks, but it may also improve the chance of survival if a heart attack does occur, according to a study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology in 2017.
Researchers analyzed data from 1,664 participants in the long-term Copenhagen City Heart Study who had heart attacks, 425 of whom died immediately. They found that people who had reported exercising moderately were about one-third less likely to die immediately after a heart attack than their sedentary counterparts; those who exercised vigorously were half as likely to die. Among people who survived their heart attacks, however, prior exercise was not associated with reduced risk of heart failure or all-cause mortality.
Larger studies, including ones that take into account exercise habits after heart attacks, are needed to confirm these findings.