There are unchangeable risk factors for the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases (age, sex, heredity) as well as changeable risk factors.
High blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity are among the modifiable risk factors and can be optimized by regular physical activity.
It is now undisputed that physical inactivity is the main risk factor for cardiovascular disease besides smoking. A lifestyle with exercise and natural and healthy nutrition can delay cardiovascular disease by up to 20 years (Chart 1).
Chart 1: Influence of physical activity on the onset of cardiovascular disease (graphic adapted by Handschin & Spiegelmann, 2008)
There is strong scientific evidence that physical activity can significantly reduce the risk of another fatal event (such as reoccurring myocardial infarction) in the next 5-10 years and lower the overall mortality rate (Chart 2).
Total mortality in persons with different physical activity
Chart 2: Physical activity as a predictor of the mortality rate after a heart attack. Low physical activity- yellow curve (0-1x per week> 30 min) leads to a significantly increased mortality rate compared to medium physical activity – red curve (2-4x per week> 30 min) and high physical activity – blue curve (5-7x per week> 30 min). (Ek et al., 2019)
Handschin, C., & Spiegelman, B. M. (2008). The role of exercise and PGC1α in inflammation and chronic disease. Nature, 454(7203), 463–469. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature07206
Ek, A., Ekblom, Ö., Hambraeus, K., Cider, Å., Kallings, L. V., & Börjesson, M. (2018). Physical inactivity and smoking after myocardial infarction as predictors for readmission and survival: results from the SWEDEHEART-registry. Clinical Research in Cardiology, 108(3), 324–332. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00392-018-1360-x
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