Regular aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of sudden heart death, says study

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aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise, such as running, swimming, spinning, walking, hiking, and dancing, can make people quickly breathe. During the exercise, the heart pumps oxygenated blood fast to deliver oxygen to working muscles.

Aerobic exercise has many health benefits. In a recent study, researchers find that regular aerobic exercise can increase heart fitness and may lower the risk of sudden heart death. The finding is published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Researchers from University of South Carolina, University of Almería in Spain, University of Cadiz in Spain, Addenbrooke’s Hospital in the UK, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Iowa State University, and University of Zaragoza in Spain conducted the study.

They analyzed data from a total of 55,456 midlife adults from the Aerobics Center Longitude Study in the USA. This study was a long-term observational investigation of the effects of aerobic exercise on physical health. It was conducted from January 2, 1974 to December 31, 2002.

The finding showed that among all included adults, 109 died from sudden heart death. When the level of heart fitness increases, the risk of sudden heart death decreased: people with moderate heart fitness levels had 44% lower risk of sudden heart death, and people with high heart fitness had 48% lower risk of sudden heart death.

In addition, people with high blood pressure and overweight showed lower risk of sudden heart death if they had moderate to high heart fitness.

Researchers suggest that the risk of sudden heart death in the US men and women could be partially reduced by moderate to high heart fitness. One way to ensure such levels of heart fitness is regular aerobic exercise.

Importantly, people who are hypertensive, overweight, or unhealthy should take regular aerobic exercise. This can strongly improve their heart health in a safe and progressive way.


Citation: Jiménez-Pavón D, et al. (2016). Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death in Men and Women in the United States. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 91: 849-857. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2016.04.025.
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