ANAHEIM, Calif. — In this Cardiology Today video exclusive, Aaron L. Baggish, MD, director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses the impact that different levels of exercise have on CV health, as was debated in a panel discussion at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.
“There is absolutely no doubt that exercise is the single best way to promote general wellness in CV health and indeed I would assert that routine physical activity outpaces any of the expensive pharmaceuticals that are being marketed to make people live longer and feel better,” Baggish said. “What's interesting now is that there are some concerns being generated about exercise at the highest ends. For long periods of time, the traditional dictum has been that the more exercise the better, the fitter you are, the longer you live, and the less likely you are to have heart disease, but indeed that notion has recently been challenged by a number of studies that suggest that there may be a level at which the benefits of exercise start to experience diminishing returns and potentially a level of exercise where there is more harm done than good.”
According to Baggish, the panel discussion focused on problems with the heart muscle, the heart’s electrical conduction system and the coronary arteries, all of which have been linked to heart disease attributed to too much exercise.
“The big take home from the discussion is that the most important health benefits of exercise occur when people go from doing nothing to something, so as little as 10 to 15 minutes of exercise a day is really quite effective at improving health,” Baggish said.