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Study Suggests No Limit to Benefit of Physical Activity on Cardiovascular Health

Previous studies have found that physical activity may be associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Now a new study has found that the risk may be 50% lower for people who are the most active.

Participants in the study included 90,2111 adults with an average age of 55. They wore an accelerometer on their wrist for seven days to measure moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity physical activity and to measure total physical activity.Participants in the top 25% performed approximately 50 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity physical activity such as running, while those in the bottom 25% performed less than 10 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity physical activity. Participants were followed for an average of 5 years and all incidences of cardiovascular disease were recorded.

The researchers found that incidences of cardiovascular disease were lowest among participants who increased their amount of moderate and vigorous physical activity during the study period. The top 25% of participants who were most active had an average reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease of between 48% and 57%. They also found there was no threshold where exercise stopped improving cardiovascular health.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford.It was published online ahead of print on January 12, 2012 in the journal PLOS Medicine.

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