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Exercise for the Heart

Exercise may help even people with an increased genetic risk of developing heart disease stave off cardiovascular events, Time magazine reports.

Researchers from Stanford and Uppsala universities examined fitness, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause death among 502,635 individuals from the UK Biobank. They further stratified these individuals based on their genetic risk scores for coronary heart disease and atrial fibrillation.

As they report this week in the journal Circulation, researchers led by Stanford's Erik Ingelsson found that grip strength, physical activity, and cardiorespiratory fitness were inversely associated with cardiovascular events and that higher grip strength and cardiorespiratory fitness were linked to lower risk of coronary heart disease and atrial fibrillation within each genetic risk group. In particular, they note that people with high genetic risk of disease who had high cardiorespiratory fitness had a 49 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and a 60 percent lower risk of atrial fibrillation.

"Regardless of your genetic risk, there is a benefit to being more physically active," Ingelsson tells Time.