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How does regular exercise lower the risk of heart disease?

The beneficial effect of exercise on the cardiovascular system is well documented. There is a direct relation between physical inactivity and cardiovascular mortality, and physical inactivity is an independent risk factor for the development of coronary artery disease. There is a dose-response relation between the amount of exercise performed from approximately 700 to 2000 kcal of energy expenditure per week and all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality in middle-aged and elderly populations. The greatest potential for reduced mortality is in the sedentary who become moderately active. Most beneficial effects of physical activity on cardiovascular disease mortality can be attained through moderate-intensity activity (40% to 60% of maximal oxygen uptake, depending on age). … persons who modify their behavior after myocardial infarction to include regular exercise have improved rates of survival. … Persons who remain sedentary have the highest risk for all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality.

Regular physical activity (eg, 30 to 45 min of walking, running, swimming, or cycling 3 to 5 times/wk) reduces incidence of some risk factors (hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes), CAD (eg, MI), and death attributable to atherosclerosis in patients with and without previous ischemic events

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