It has been postulated that platelet function plays an important role in the initiation of atherosclerosis. Currently there are no definitive data on the longer-term effects of regular physical exercise on platelet function in humans. We assessed the influence of regular moderate-intensity physical exercise (brisk walking to slow jogging) on platelet aggregation in a population-based sample of middle-aged, overweight, mildly hypertensive men in eastern Finland. In this controlled study, we evaluated the net effect of exercise on platelet aggregation by studying changes in optical density and ATP release in platelet-rich plasma. A significant inhibition of secondary platelet aggregation from 27% to 36% was observed in the men taking regular exercise. These findings give new insight into the possible protective effects of exercise against the risk of ischemic heart disease.