Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the primary cause of a higher death rate across the world. In the U.S., CVD accounts for approximately 600,000 deaths every year. Although there was a constant decline over the last five decades, its frequency is rising again.
Among multiple risk factors, low physical activity is considered the major contributor to poor cardiovascular health. Hence, the American Heart Association recommends a range of 75-150 minutes/week of vigorous physical activity or 150-300 minutes/week of moderate physical activity, or a combination of both. However, it was unclear whether performing a higher level of moderate and vigorous exercise could reduce mortality risks.
A team of researchers performed a research analysis study involving more than 100,000 adults over a 30-year follow-up period (1988-2018), which was published in the journal Circulation in 2022.
The average age of the participants was 66 years where more than 96% were white adults and 63% were females. These participants were asked to complete a validated questionnaire study every two years where they reported their health information, family medical histories, personal habits, and frequency of physical activities including the average time spent per week.
Moderate physical activities include walking, weightlifting, lower-intensity exercise, and calisthenics while vigorous physical activities include running, jogging, bicycling, and swimming.
Duration of exercise (min/wk)
Reduction in mortality risk (%)
What It Means
People who performed 2-4 times the weekly recommended moderate or vigorous physical activity had a significant reduction in CVD-related mortality rate.
Although this study supports national physical activity guidelines, it further recommends performing medium to a high level of either moderate or vigorous physical activity or a combination of both every week to achieve maximum overall health benefits. The bottom line is to set realistic goals and start doing physical activity consistently by selecting the right amount and intensity.
For more guidance on physical activity, you can consult with one of our experienced cardiologists through a virtual visit or in person at one of our clinic locations. To schedule an appointment, call Peak Heart & Vascular in Surprise, Avondale, Flagstaff, or Phoenix, Arizona, or connect online to submit an appointment request for an in-office or virtual visit.