The cardiovascular benefits of physical fitness and regular physical activity are often underestimated because the benefit is best measured over decades rather than immediately after lifestyle change. In adults, studies with long-term follow-up demonstrate that physical fitness reduces cardiovascular risk by about 50% independently of other risk factors. In younger adults, physical fitness is associated with the prevention of the development of risk factors themselves; particularly type 2 diabetes mellitus and the risk factors commonly called the metabolic syndrome: hypertension, elevated triglycerides, and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Regular physical activity is insulin sensitizing and is a more effective intervention in this regard than pharmacological treatment. Thus, over a lifetime, the benefits of regular physical activity and fitness are additive, with the prevention of risk ...

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