Lorem ipsum dolor

Exercise or genetics: which one will save us?


An active lifestyle is scientifically proven to protect against many diseases and an easy and safe way to increase one's health and well-being in the long run. 

Among the diseases prevented by physical activity, indeed in the top of the list, we find metabolic and cardiovascular disorders.

On the latter, practically everyone knows that a good level of "fitness" and the regular practice of sport are associated with a reduction in cardiovascular risk. This habit is even capable of reversing the process of cardiac remodelling underlying cardiovascular failure.

However, the role of genetics in predicting the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases is equally famous. Some people have a higher risk of facing, for example, coronary events or atrial fibrillation regardless of their lifestyle.

The question that arises is: considering genetics on the one hand and physical activity on the other, which one wins?

The answer comes from a study published in the April 2018 issue of Circulation. In this article, the authors analyzed the data of more than half a million English adults (to be precise 502,635) followed for, on average, about six years.

The data of this large cohort of subjects was analyzed to understand which and how many cardiovascular incidents occurred. But above all, the researchers investigated the association of these events with "fitness" level, physical activity, and genetic markers to understand the role that "genetic risk" played into such problems.

The conclusions were clear and straightforward. A higher degree of physical activity is associated with a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease in all groups, both at high and low genetic risk. Furthermore, physical activity was connected with a reduction in risk of 49% for coronary events (including heart attack) and 60% for atrial fibrillation in the group of people with the most "unfavourable" genetics. 

There is no doubt: physical activity wins over genetics. This is excellent news, that can only be an extra stimulus to start practising some exercise and stay active.

Associating physical activity with adequate nutrition, even better if it can reduce inflammation, are a way to further potentiate the benefits. 

And now, everyone exercise!