Little Exercise is Better than None

Heart disease risk reduced with exercise

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Often times when people fail in exercising regularly, they give up altogether. That's not the best option. Even limited amounts of exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Even those who spend two and a half hours each week doing physical activities of moderate intensity can lower their coronary heart disease risk by 14 percent. That is compared to those who do not exercise at all.

"Exercise more to cut your heart risk."

Jacob Sattelmair, a researcher with the department of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, said that the study backs federal guidelines suggesting that even a little bit of exercise is good, but more is better. He said that 150 minutes of exercise each week is beneficial while 300 minutes a week is even better.

Those unable to meet the guideline of 150 minutes of exercise, but who still participated in physical activity, each week still saw a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.

Sattelmair said this research is different from previous studies examining the risk of exercise and heart disease risk because it included quantitative assessments of the amount of physical activity a person may need to reduce their risk. It also included the magnitude of the benefit.

As part of the analysis, researchers reviewed more than 3,000 studies about physical activity and heart disease. More than 30 studies were then included in the analysis. The research also noted a difference between genders. The results were stronger in women than men.

Previous studies simply broke individuals into groups labeled either as active or sedentary, while more recent studies have begun to examine the actual amount of physical activity people are getting and how it relates to their risk of heart disease.

The research was published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 29, 2011
Last Updated:
August 1, 2011