Why maintaining a certain level of physical activity is crucial for the health of your heart

The beginning of an active life, the appearance of children in our lives or other particular situations can lead us to do less and less sport over time. However, for our general health it is important to maintain a certain level of physical activity and even more so for our heart. In fact, a recent prospective epidemiological study published in theInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity having followed more than 5,000 patients for 30 years suggests that as we reduce our physical activity over time, our cardiovascular risk increases.

An overall risk of + 15% if the time of physical activity decreases

The Cardia study (for Coronary artery risk development in young adults) followed thousands of participants from different American cities: Birmingham, Chicago, Minneapolis and Oakland. Their goal was to determine whether changes in physical activity level between the age of majority and their thirties are important for the cardiovascular risk, that is, in terms of dangerous events such as coronary diseases, heart attacks or cerebrovascular accidents. The researchers started from the following hypotheses: low levels of physical activity at the age of 18 years and a decreasing level of physical activity throughout adulthood would be associated with premature cardiovascular events, that is, before the age of 60 years.

When physical activity decreases, cardiovascular risk increases.  © Diego_Cervo, Getty Images

When physical activity decreases, cardiovascular risk increases. © Diego_Cervo, Getty Images

Given their results, their hypotheses are confirmed. Indeed, compared to those for whom the level of physical activity remains stable, those whose level decreases have between 2 and 28% risk of suffering from coronary disease, between 5 and 38% of heart attack and between 4 and 39% of having a stroke. Researchers have also…

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