If your health history happens to be filled with family members who died of heart disease, don’t just throw your hands in the air and assume it’s inevitable that you’ll succumb to the same fate. New research shows that keeping fit can help ward off cardiovascular disease no matter what your genetic risk may be.
This study out of Stanford University provides evidence that despite your genetic risk level, keeping fit will make a difference no matter what that history is: ‘It’s basically indicating that you can make some lifestyle changes [and] be more physically active and it can make a difference to your long-term health.’
Among those considered at high genetic risk for heart disease, high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness were associated with a 49 percent lower risk for coronary heart disease and a 60 percent lower risk for atrial fibrillation compared with study participants with low cardiorespiratory fitness.
A 100 year old doctor from Loma Linda California (the only “Blue Zone” in the US, where a much larger percentage of people than average live to be 100) quotes the study as providing the evidence that climbing a flight of stairs 20 times a week contributes to a 46% decreased incidence of death from heart disease.