If you've ever heard the story of the avid jogger who dropped dead of a heart attack, or the extreme marathon runner who still got cardiovascular disease, you may have wondered: Is there a limit to how much exercise I should do? The short answer, according to new research, is no. Certainly even the fittest of the fit can experience a heart issue, but this study involving more than 90,000 adults found that over a five-year period, the people who engaged in the most vigorous-intensity exercise (top 25 percent) reduced their heart disease risk by 54-63 percent.
And the risk reductions don't apply just to vigorous exercise: People in the top 25 percent in terms of all intensities of exercise (moderate to vigorous) also reduced their risk by 48-57 percent. Study findings appear in the journal PLOS Medicine.
Now you may be wondering, But those people are also healthier in general, right? True, but the researchers accounted for this, adjusting for factors that could influence heart disease risk, such as whether participants smoked, were overweight or obese, and drank more than moderate amounts of alcohol. Higher levels of exercise still correlated with lower rates of heart disease.