Even if you are up to 20 per cent less fit than your population average, it is sufficient to prevent risk factors like diabetes, hypertension, obesity that affect people with heart disease, finds a study. Physical inactivity along with risk factors like depression, diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, obesity, excess weight, and smoking may lead to heart disease, which is one of the leading causes of death in the world, representing 31 per cent of global mortality, the study says.
To measure the impact of physical fitness on heart disease risk factors, the researchers selected 205 men and 44 women with heart disease, including coronary artery disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and heart valve disease, and had them undergo a cycle ergometer (stationary bike) stress test to determine their fitness level.
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The results showed that normal physical fitness, even up to 20 per cent below the population average, is sufficient to have a preventive effect on five of the eight risk factors affecting people with cardiovascular disease–abdominal circumference, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and excess weight.
“It is common to meet people entering a cardiac rehab centre who are totally out of shape and whose exercise is irregular or non-existent, which has a harmful effect on general and cardiovascular health,” said Daniel Curnier, a professor at the University of Montreal, Canada, said in a statement.
The easiest way to achieve normal physical fitness is to follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization — 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, the study suggested.
The results have also demonstrated the importance of a good fitness level, before and after a heart attack, to produce the preventive effect on depression.
The study sheds new light on the overall role of physical fitness in the development of cardiovascular risk factors in patients with cardiovascular disease.