Physical activity and cardiovascular disease prevention: current recommendations

Angiology. 2008 Apr-May;59(2 Suppl):26S-9S. doi: 10.1177/0003319708318582. Epub 2008 May 28.


Epidemiologic studies support an inverse and robust relationship between physical activity (PA) and mortality risk, even after adjusting for potential confounding factors. The authors have reported 13% lower mortality risk for every 1-MET (metabolic equivalent) increase in exercise capacity. For those with an exercise capacity >7 METs, the mortality risk was approximately 50% to 70% lower when compared with those achieving <5 METs. The risk reduction is, at least in part, attributed to the favorable effect of PA on the cardiovascular risk factors. Increased PA lowers blood pressure in hypertensive individuals, increases high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in a dose-response fashion, and reduces the incidence of diabetes. The health benefits of PA can be realized by engaging in moderate-intensity physical activity (brisk walk) for at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week or vigorous activity (jogging) for 20 or more minutes, 3 days per week. Combinations of the 2 types of activity can also be performed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors