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Physical Activity: an effective way to protect your heart

21 Jan 2020

It is never too late to start with physical activity, and any exercise is better than none – though more is better.

These are the main conclusions from the newest EHN report on Physical Activity Policies for Cardiovascular Health.

Physical inactivity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by more than 20%. Yet, in Europe, it is estimated that 25 % of women and 22 % of men are physically inactive.

The report shows that engaging in physical activity is beneficial for healthy people and for people who live with cardiovascular diseases. It demonstrates the under-use of policy measures to promote physical activity at a population-level to prevent cardiovascular disease. The recommendation is for regular activity of at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity physical activity or an equivalent combination

It further demonstrates the effectiveness of physical activity in patients, highlighting the need for flexible, individualised and ‘menu-based’ programmes, tailored to the circumstances and needs of individual patients as part of cardiovascular rehabilitation.

Policy makers at EU, national, regional and local level play an important role in improving uptake of regular physical activity.