Title

Chronic Stress, Exercise and Cardiovascular Disease: Placing the Benefits and Risks of Physical Activity into Perspective.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-21-2021

Publication Title

International journal of environmental research and public health

Abstract

Chronic stress, which has been exacerbated worldwide by the lingering COVID pandemic, has been strongly linked to cardiovascular disease (CVD). In addition, autonomic dysregulation via sustained sympathetic activity has been shown to increase the risk of arrhythmias, platelet aggregation, acute coronary syndromes and heart failure. Fortunately, effective coping strategies have been shown to attenuate the magnitude of hyperarousal associated with the stress response, including moderate-to-vigorous lifestyle activity and/or structured exercise. A good-to-excellent level of cardiorespiratory fitness also appears to be highly cardioprotective. These beneficial effects have been substantiated by numerous studies that have evaluated the levels of stress reactivity and stress recovery in physically active individuals versus matched sedentary controls, as well as before and after exercise interventions. On the other hand, unaccustomed strenuous exercise in habitually sedentary persons with underlying CVD is associated with a disproportionate incidence of acute cardiac events. Moreover, extreme exercise regimens appear to increase coronary calcification and the likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation. This review summarizes these relations and more, with specific reference to placing the benefits and risks of physical activity into perspective.

Volume

18

Issue

18

First Page

9922

DOI

10.3390/ijerph18189922

ISSN

1660-4601

PubMed ID

34574843

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