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J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 1995;25 Suppl 1:S3-8.

Benefits of physical activity in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

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French Federation of Cardiology, Paris.


Today it is undisputed that physical exercise and sports activity have beneficial effects in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Heberden, who in 1772 brilliantly described the clinical manifestations of angina pectoris, anticipated the benefits of physical exercise when he asked whether "chopping wood for 30 min every day would not be a remedy." These beneficial effects have been demonstrated in primary and in secondary prevention after a heart attack or coronary event. Physical rehabilitation enables patients to recuperate quickly, and provides optimal conditions for their reintegration into professional, social, and family life after a temporary incapacity. Since the days of Heberden, physical exercise and rehabilitation of the cardiac patient have acquired great importance in the fight against the risk factors for atherosclerosis, owing to their practical importance and to the many research problems they provoke. The European Society of Cardiology, the French Society of Cardiology, the European Federations, and the French Federation of Cardiology have unanimously recognized the theoretical and practical importance of this issue, and each of these organizations has formed a working group, undertaken clinical research, or assisted cardiac patients with counseling. The Fifth World Congress, held at Bordeaux in 1992, has confirmed the importance of the topics in cardiology that are discussed here. The aim of this general review is to analyze the benefits obtained from physical activity on cardiovascular function, and, in the light of the most recent and important studies, to discuss the effects of physical exercise in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular diseases, particularly of coronary atherosclerosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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