Benefits of physical activity in cardiovascular risk due to anti-stress effect

The first indications of evidence of the reduction of cardiovascular risk with the physical activity They come from the hand of Jerry Morris in 1953. He found that postmen had fewer heart attacks than bus drivers and officials. Since then, evidence has accumulated to confirm the cardiovascular risk reduction and benefits at other levels when they are made physical activity y exercise on regular basis.

Regular physical activity reduces neurohumoral markers of the stress response, both at rest and during activity. As a reflection of this, the external indicators of the stress response also decrease (BP, HR, triglycerides, glucose and abdominal fat and increase in HDL). That is, they improve all the components of the metabolic syndrome or factors of cardiovascular risk.

Data to consider

It cannot be overlooked that the cardiovascular complications, such as thrombosis, ischemia, arrhythmias, vascular ruptures and heart failure, can occur with the practice of physical exercise. There is a fact that is difficult to know precisely but that is very curious. The risk of heart attack, the most common cardiovascular complication, or sudden death can increase from 2 to 164 times compared to the resting state.

This variability seems to depend on environmental conditions, health status (biological age, cardiovascular health, and conditioning) and, very importantly, on the intensity of physical activity.

risk reduction

Generally, it is accepted that the physical activity Acute and intense, it has a prothrombotic effect, especially in sedentary individuals, which reverts within a few hours of cessation of activity.

On the other hand, progressive conditioning appears to have a hypocoagulant effect that confers protection against cardiovascular disease. All this translates into an overall reduction in cardiovascular risk of between 33 and 50%.

The benefits of physical activity about him cardiovascular risk seem to be explained, in large part, by an anti-stress effect. The physical activity regular intense can reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications exponentially and up to more than 50 times, during situations of intense stress.


The cardiorespiratory or aerobic resistance training recommendations for hypertensives is that they do a moderate level of aerobic activity, with exercises, such as walking, running, swimming or cycling between 4 and 5 days a week. The duration of the workouts is between 60 and 300 minutes a week.

As for weight training, it should be done with little weight and high repetitions, in batches of 10 to 20 repetitions, resting periods of 30-60 seconds. Avoid the Valsalva maneuver, as it produces significant elevations in blood pressure.


The sessions should start with a warm-up for 7 to 10 minutes so that the body acquires the right temperature. It should be of low intensity and may consist of walking or gentle stretching without bouncing, since intense stretching with cold muscle can cause muscle fiber injury.

Next, the scheduled session should be done and to finish, low-intensity aerobic exercises and stretching should be done for about 10 minutes. Stretching should be done in the main muscle groups, in periods of 20 seconds, in a sustained manner and avoiding rebound.

Doctors Catalina Cárdenes, Juan Ramón Peraita, Javier López Vargas, Miguel Padró, Vivian Rosa Vitorero, Yodalys Pérez Ferrer and Rodrigo Rodrigues Batista collaborated in the preparation of this article.