Statement on Exercise: Benefits and Recommendations for Physical Activity Programs for All Americans
A Statement for Health Professionals by the Committee on Exercise and Cardiac Rehabilitation of the Council on Clinical Cardiology, American Heart Association
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Physical inactivity is recognized as a risk factor for coronary artery disease. Regular aerobic physical activity increases exercise capacity and plays a role in both primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.1 2 3 4 5 The known benefits of regular aerobic exercise and current recommendations for implementation of exercise programs are described in this revised report.6
Exercise training increases cardiovascular functional capacity and decreases myocardial oxygen demand at any level of physical activity in apparently healthy persons as well as in most subjects with cardiovascular disease. Regular physical activity is required to maintain these training effects. The potential risk of physical activity can be reduced by medical evaluation, risk stratification, supervision, and education.4
Exercise can help control blood lipid abnormalities, diabetes, and obesity. In addition, aerobic exercise adds an independent blood pressure–lowering effect in certain hypertensive groups with a decrease of 8 to 10 mm Hg in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements.7 8 9 10 There is a direct relation between physical inactivity and cardiovascular mortality, and physical inactivity is an independent risk factor for the development of coronary artery disease.11 12 13 14 There is a dose-response relation between the amount of exercise performed from approximately 700 to 2000 kcal of energy expenditure per week and all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality in middle-aged and elderly populations.14 15 The greatest potential for reduced mortality is in the sedentary who become moderately active.15 Most beneficial effects of physical activity on cardiovascular disease mortality can be attained through moderate-intensity activity (40% to 60% of maximal oxygen uptake, depending on age).14 15 16 The activity can be accrued through formal training programs or leisure-time physical activities. Although most of the supporting data are based on studies in men, more recent findings …