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Exercise reduces stress and lowers heart disease risk

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 2 months ago

A recent study conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital has shed light on the connection between physical activity and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, suggests that physical activity may reduce stress-related brain activity, which in turn lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study found that individuals who met the recommended guidelines for physical activity had a 23% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to those who did not meet these recommendations. Additionally, those with pre-existing depression experienced an even greater reduction in cardiovascular risk, almost twice as much as those without depression.

The researchers theorize that physical activity's effects on stress-related brain mechanisms play a significant role in reducing cardiovascular disease risk. By reducing stress-related brain signaling, physical activity can positively impact the cardiovascular system.

Dr. Ahmed Tawakol, the senior author of the study, emphasized the importance of physical activity in promoting heart health. He stated that the reductions in stress-related brain activity observed in the study were primarily due to improvements in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region responsible for decision-making and impulse control.

Dr. John Higgins, a sports cardiologist at UTHealth Houston, explained that stress pathways can have detrimental effects on the arterial system, leading to increased cardiovascular risk factors. Physical activity helps counteract these negative effects by reducing stress and promoting overall health and wellness.

For individuals looking to incorporate more physical activity into their routine, experts recommend starting with moderate-intensity exercises such as walking, running, swimming, or biking. Gradually working up to 150 minutes of exercise per week can help improve heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

In conclusion, the study highlights the importance of physical activity in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly for individuals with depression. By understanding the connection between physical activity, stress reduction, and cardiovascular health, individuals can take proactive steps to improve their overall well-being.

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