Cardio exercise key in fighting heart disease

Being cardio fit is good  for your cardio health.

New research has shown that cardio-respiratory fitness is important in lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study out of Texas, USA, has found that a moderate-to-high level of fitness offsets the negative effects of a high triglyceride/high-density lipoprotein (TG: HDL) ratio, a key indicator of developing cardiovascular and heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of death in Australia. It affects one in six Australians and kills one of us every 12 minutes. Nearly 30 per cent of all deaths in 2015 were from CVD. That said, it is largely preventable with lifestyle adjustments.

The research

The study drew on the results of physical examinations from more than 40,000 men. The exam included a maximal treadmill test and a measurement of blood TG: HDL.

Researchers categorised the participants into low, moderate and high fit groups. The study followed participants for an average of 16.6 years, in which time 556 died from coronary heart disease.

The results showed that people with moderate to high levels of fitness had significant protection from heart disease compared to having a low level of fitness.

In addition, the results also showed that people who were highly fit and had a low blood HD: HGL saw the most protection from CVD.

The even better news? Even people with a high blood TG: HDL ratio benefited from being more fit.

The authors believe that both cardiovascular fitness and TG: HDL should be included when assessing patients for heart disease risk.

“While it is still extremely important to measure traditional risk factors such as resting blood pressure, blood cholesterol, triglyceride and glucose levels, having a measure or estimate of the patient’s cardiorespiratory fitness level gives us additional information regarding cardiovascular disease risk,” said Dr. Stephen W. Farrell, the study’s lead author.

“The results of this study support this recommendation. Regardless of whether the blood TG:HDL ratio was low or high, having at least a moderate level of fitness provided some protection from [CVD] death when compared to having a low level of fitness.”

Becoming more cardio fit can start as simply as increasing how much you exercise, whether you prefer a treadmill, cycling or a stroll around the block.

The research has been published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.


Farrell, S.W. et al. (2017.) ‘Moderate to High Levels of Cardiorespiratory Fitness Attenuate the Effects of Triglyceride to High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Ratio on Coronary Heart Disease Mortality in Men.’
Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Published online: November 17, 2017

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