Exercise at the Extremes: The Amount of Exercise to Reduce Cardiovascular Events

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2016 Jan 26;67(3):316-29. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2015.11.034.


Habitual physical activity and regular exercise training improve cardiovascular health and longevity. A physically active lifestyle is, therefore, a key aspect of primary and secondary prevention strategies. An appropriate volume and intensity are essential to maximally benefit from exercise interventions. This document summarizes available evidence on the relationship between the exercise volume and risk reductions in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, the risks and benefits of moderate- versus high-intensity exercise interventions are compared. Findings are presented for the general population and cardiac patients eligible for cardiac rehabilitation. Finally, the controversy of excessive volumes of exercise in the athletic population is discussed.

Keywords: athletes; cardiac patients; coronary artery disease; health; heart failure; longevity; mortality; myocardial infarction; physical activity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / psychology
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Longevity
  • Motor Activity*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*