Lack of exercise increases the risk of sudden death


  • Regular physical exercise is essential for maintaining good health
  • The risk of sudden death is 33 to 45% lower in those who engage in moderate or intense physical activity

According to research in the Journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), a active lifestyle is linked to a lower risk of immediately dying of a heart attack. This study focused on the effect of an active or sedentary lifestyle on the immediate course of a heart attack – an area for which little information is available.

Ten European observation cohorts comprising healthy participants who had suffered a heart attack during follow-up were included, for a total of 28,140 people. Participants were classified according to their weekly level of physical activity during their leisure time: sedentary, low, moderate or high.

The association between activity level and risk of death due to a heart attack (sudden or within 28 days of the attack) was analyzed individually in each cohort separately first, then the results were analyzed. grouped together in a second step. Analyzes were adjusted for many potential confounding factors such as age, sex, family history of heart disease, smoking or even the body mass index.

A risk reduced by 45% in the event of intense activity

A total of 4,976 participants (17.7%) died within 28 days of their heart attack and 3,101 (62.3%) died instantly. Overall, a higher level of physical activity was associated with a lower risk of an instantaneous and fatal heart attack within 28 days.

Patients who had regularly performed physical exercise had an instantaneous risk of death 33% (for moderate activity) and 45% (intense activity) lower, compared to sedentary people. After 28 days, these numbers were reduced by 36% and 28%, respectively.

Our pooled review strongly supports the recommendations for weekly physical activity in healthy adults set out in the 2016 European guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in clinical practice; especially since we used threshold values ​​for physical activity comparable to those used in the guidelines“, conclude the authors of the work.


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