Last updated on Jun 22nd, 2021 at 03:08 pm

The study also finds that 1 in 20 cases of cardiovascular disease could be prevented if everyone did 30 mins physical activity five days a week…

Largest study of physical activity

Completing 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week (whether it’s going to the gym, walking to work, or household chores) is associated with a reduced risk of death and cardiovascular disease, according to the largest study of physical activity tracking 130 000 people in 17 countries published in The Lancet on 21 September 2017. 

Being highly active (750 mins a week) is associated with an even greater reduction, and the authors found that this was more achievable for those who built physical activity into their day through active transport, job type, or housework.  

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Physical activity associated with lower risk of mortality and heart disease

The study confirms on a global scale that physical activity is associated with a lower risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease, including death from heart disease, heart attack, stroke, or heart failure. However, estimates suggest that almost a quarter (23%) of the world’s population is not meeting physical activity guidelines.

Heart disease leading cause of death worldwide

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and a major economic burden globally. It is estimated that 70% of cardiovascular disease deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where it is the most common cause of death. 

Lead author Dr Scott Lear, Professor of Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Pfizer/Heart & Stroke Foundation Chair in Cardiovascular Prevention Research at St. Paul’s Hospital in Canada, says, “The affordability of other cardiovascular disease interventions, such as generic drugs and consuming fruits and vegetables, are often beyond the reach of many people in low-income and middle-income countries.

Low-cost approach to preventing heart disease

“Physical activity, however, represents a low cost approach to preventing cardiovascular disease, and our study provides robust evidence to support public health interventions to increase all forms of physical activity in these regions,” adds Dr Lear.

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