Physical activity versus cardiorespiratory fitness: two (partly) distinct components of cardiovascular health?

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2015 Jan-Feb;57(4):324-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2014.09.008. Epub 2014 Sep 28.


Physical activity (PA) and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) both have inverse relationships to cardiovascular (CV) morbidity and mortality. Recent position papers and guidelines have identified the important role of both of these factors in CV health. The benefits of PA and CRF in the prevention of CV disease and risk factors are reviewed. In addition, assessment methodology and utilization in the research and clinical arenas are discussed. Finally, the benefits, methodology, and utilization are compared and contrasted to better understand the two (partly) distinct components and their impact on CV health.

Keywords: AHA; American Heart Association; CCLS; CHD; CRF; CV; CVD; Cardiorespiratory fitness; Cardiovascular disease prevention; Cooper Center Longitudinal Study; METs; O(2); PA; Physical activity; RR; VO(2max); cardiorespiratory fitness; cardiovascular; cardiovascular disease; coronary heart disease; maximal oxygen consumption; metabolic equivalents; oxygen; physical activity; relative risk.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Exercise* / physiology
  • Exercise* / psychology
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Motor Activity
  • Physical Fitness* / physiology
  • Physical Fitness* / psychology
  • Primary Prevention / methods*
  • Public Health*
  • Risk Assessment* / methods
  • Risk Assessment* / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors