The impact of moving more, physical activity, and cardiorespiratory fitness: Why we should strive to measure and improve fitness

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2021 Jan-Feb:64:77-82. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2020.11.003. Epub 2020 Nov 5.


A large and growing body of epidemiologic research spanning roughly 7 decades has demonstrated that individuals who are more physically active have a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality compared to those who are comparatively sedentary. Despite these well-established benefits of physical activity (PA), most adults and children do not get an adequate amount of PA. This is true not just in the United States but has been increasingly recognized throughout advanced countries. The theme of this Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases Symposium is "moving more", recognizing that any amount of increased physical movement, including occupational, recreational, household tasks, etc., has significant health benefits. Being physically active is associated with better health outcomes independent of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), a concept that would have been considered heretical a few decades ago. We now recognize that simply moving from a sedentary to a moderately active group or modest increases in CRF (e.g. moving from the least fit quintile of CRF to the next least fit quintile) has the most noticeable health benefits. In this review, the concept of "moving more" and its implications for CRF are discussed as they relate to the prevention and treatment of CVD.

Keywords: Chronic disease; Physical inactivity; Prevention; Sedentary time.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiorespiratory Fitness / physiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Sedentary Behavior*