AHA releases statement highlighting benefits of aerobic exercise

March 16, 2020

By Kelly Jordan

A recent scientific statement released by the American Heart Association outlined the various benefits and potential risks of aerobic exercise as it relates to heart health. Felipe Lobelo, MD, PhD, FAHA, associate professor at the Rollins School of Public Health, was a co-author on the statement. 

The statement incorporates recent research to support the message that the benefits of exercise far outweigh the risks for the majority of people, noting that worldwide sedentary behaviors remain a problem. Physically active people have a 50 percent lower risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac death. 

However, the authors did note that for those who have inadequate training or who have underlying heart problems that may not have been detected, the risks of heart issues from extreme exercise, such as participation in marathons and triathlons, are increased. 

For those looking to become more active, the American Heart Association recommends starting a light exercise program and slowly building in intensity. Those with a known heart disease (including a previous heart attack) should consult with their doctors before beginning a new program.

For currently inactive/sedentary people, the Association also suggests checking with your doctor before engaging in any strenuous activities such as shoveling snow or racquet sports, which create rapid increases in heart rate and blood pressure and greatly increase the strain on the heart.

Read the full statement here.

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