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People With Family History Of Heart Disease Should Exercise Regularly. Here's Why

Research states that exercising regularly can reduce risk of heart disease in those who have family history of heart and cardiovascular disease.

People With Family History Of Heart Disease Should Exercise Regularly. Heres Why

People with heart disease should exercise regularly


  1. Exercising regularly is important for people who have heart disease
  2. People with family history of heart disease are at higher risks
  3. Exercising regularly helps in better prognosis of heart disease

Exercising and eating right is something that is suggested to prevent cardiovascular and heart disease. However, recent research states that exercising regularly can reduce risks of heart disease among those who have heart diseases in family. The research was conducted by researchers in Stanford University School of Medicine along with Uppsala University in Sweden. The research is known to be one of the largest observational studies carried on the topic of heart disease and fitness. The research states that regular exercise can reduce heart disease risk even in people who have high genetic risks. Around 482,702 people aged between 40 to 69 participated in the research.

heart disease


Their fitness and activity levels of the participants were assessed by going through stationary-cycling and grip-strength tests. The participants were also made to answer questions about the level of their physical activity. They were made to accelerometers on their waists for 7 days to keep a check on their overall health.

Also read: How Many Eggs In A Day Are Good For Your Heart?

Genetic data of a majority of the participants were also taken in consideration. This was done in order to see which participants were at higher risk of coronary heart disease genetically. Participants were also checked for genetic risks for atrial fibrillation - a condition in which people suffer from irregular heartbeats, which can cause stroke, blood clots, heart failures and other heart related conditions.



The result of the research showed that people with high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness, physical activity and grip strength were lesser prone to risks of several cardiovascular conditions. These included stroke, heart attacks and atrial fibrillation. These people were lesser prone to risks of such conditions even if they had a genetic predisposition for heart diseases.

Among participants categorised as having intermediate genetic risk, the ones with strongest grips were found to be 36% less likely to develop coronary heart disease. This risk of atrial fibrillation was found to be reduced by 46%. This analysis is in comparison with who have the same genetic risks but have the weakest grips.

Also read: Here's How Many Nuts And Seeds You Should Have For A Healthy Heart

There have been numerous studies which have linked improved heart health to regular physical activity. But the exact effect of exercise on people who had a family history of cardiovascular disease was not known.

"If you have someone with heart disease in your family, then you too are at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Exercise reduces your risk of heart disease. Among people who have heart disease, it is important for them to exercise in order to keep their heart healthy. If a person who exercises regularly develops a heart disease, s/he has a better prognosis of the problem as compared to those who don't exercise regularly," explains cardiologist Dr Sameer Gupta.


He goes on to mention about the guidelines of American Heart Association and says, "If you are doing moderate levels of exercise which is for about 60 to 75% of your target heart rate, then you should do about 30 minutes of exercise. You can also exercise for about 90 minutes to keep your heart rate healthy."

Also read: Will I Get A Heart Disease If I Have A Family History? Expert Explains

But this regime will vary from person to person. "If a person is in his 60s and his suffering from diabetes, s/he cannot start exercising immediately. They have to consult their doctor before going ahead with exercising," says Dr Sameer.

People should try and minimise the risk of heart disease by exercising regularly and following a healthy diet regime as well. "People with cardiovascular disease should have a nutritious meal which is not very high in fats or salts. They should try and cut down on ice creams and desserts," Dr Sameer says.


fruits and vegetables

Thus, exercising is an important aspect of your health and fitness, irrespective of your health condition. Heart health is vastly influenced by genetics and your lifestyle.

Bringing a few changes in the lifestyle by eating healthy, avoiding unhealthy habits like drinking and smoking, and exercising regularly can help in preventing incidence of cardiovascular disease. 

(Dr Sameer Gupta is Interventional Cardiologist at Metro Hospital, Noida and MP Heart Clinic, Greater Kailash)

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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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