Do you have strong legs? If not, then here is one more reason not to skip leg day at the gym. A new study says powerful legs can save you from heart failure after a heart attack.

Myocardial infarction or heart attack is caused by decreased or complete stoppage of blood flow to the heart muscles. Around 6-9% of patients with a heart attack develop heart failure.

The findings of the latest study presented at Heart Failure 2023, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), suggest people with powerful legs have a better prognosis after a heart attack.

The researchers evaluated 932 patients who were hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction between 2007 and 2020. The patients were of the median age of 66 and did not have heart failure before the admission.

The maximal quadriceps strength of each participant was measured using a handheld dynamometer, and the leg strength was noted in terms of relative body weight.

Based on the value of their leg muscle strength, the participants, both male and female, were classified as above or below the median for their sex. The researchers then followed them up for around 4.5 years.

During this period, 67 patients developed heart failure. The study revealed that in patients with high quadriceps strength, the incidence of heart failure was 10.2 per 1,000 person-years, and in those with low strength, it was 22.9 per 1,000 person-years.

The patients with high quadriceps strength had a 41% lower risk of developing heart failure.

"Quadriceps strength is easy and simple to measure accurately in clinical practice. Our study indicates that quadriceps strength could help to identify patients at a higher risk of developing heart failure after myocardial infarction who could then receive more intense surveillance," said Kensuke Ueno, a co-author of the study and a physical therapist at the Kitasato University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Japan.

Researchers also found that each 5% body weight increment in quadriceps strength lowered the chance of heart failure by 11%.

"The findings need to be replicated in other studies, but they do suggest that strength training involving the quadriceps muscles should be recommended for patients who have experienced a heart attack to prevent heart failure," researchers wrote.

A new study suggests that people with powerful legs have a better prognosis after a heart attack Pixabay