Science has been showing that physical activity regular helps prevent and control noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and various types of cancer. And it also helps prevent hypertension, maintain a healthy body weight, and can improve mental health, quality of life, and well-being.
In the measure, is the key. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (brisk walking or dancing, for example) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (such as running or other sports) a week.
If we meet these goals, at least 30 minutes a day, the benefits will be significant: reduction of the risk of mortality by 16%, the risk of cardiovascular mortality by 27% and of cardiovascular accidents by 12%. This is highlighted by a study led by researchers from CIBERCV, CIBERESP and the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM).
The more exercise the better?
The work, published in the Spanish Journal of Cardiology, also reveals that multiply by four the practice of these recommendations the maximum benefit is obtained, but above this amount no additional benefit is observed, they explain from the center. Above this amount, no additional benefit is observed.
“The specific question we wanted to answer was, what is the minimum amount and the maximum amount of physical activity to optimize the benefits on cardiovascular health?”, Explains Albert Clarà, first signatory of the study, researcher at CIBERCV and IMIM and chief Vascular Surgery Service of the Hospital del Mar.
Cardiovascular accidents and mortality
The researchers followed 11,158 people for more than seven years, all from the REGICOR study (Registre Gironí del Cor). The data on the physical activity of the participants, people between 25 and 79 years old, were collected with validated questionnaires, in which up to 64 types of activities were specified, and the participants were followed up.
The cardiovascular accidents and mortality (863 people died during the study), they were identified with these follow-ups and with the crossing of data with the data analytics program for research and innovation in health (PADRIS), of the Departament de Salut de la Generalitat de Catalunya.
“The results of the study indicate that the practice of moderate-vigorous intensity physical activity is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and mortality,” says Helmut Schröder, another of the signatories of the study and a researcher at CIBERESP and IMIM.
With small doses of physical activity
In this sense, Jaume Marrugat, also a signatory of the work and a researcher at the CIBERCV and IMIM, has highlighted that the most interesting results are “that the benefit is already seen with small doses of physical activity”. “Following current WHO recommendations is associated with a 12% reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease and a 16% reduction in risk of death,” he adds.
Marrugat adds that “the maximum benefit is observed when the practice of these recommendations is multiplied by four, without an additional benefit being observed when increasing physical activity above this level.” According to the research, no differences were observed due to age or gender.
Promote a healthy lifestyle
The importance of promoting a healthy lifestyle that incorporates the practice of physical activity for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases it’s not just an individual decision, “But also requires the commitment of public agencies and institutions (municipalities and other governments), to facilitate access to the population to environments where these activities can be easily carried out, both in urban and rural settings.”