Poor air quality does not offset exercise's heart benefits


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Poor air quality does not offset exercise’s heart benefits

Exercise, exercise, exercise…

  • Even in areas with moderate-to-high levels of traffic pollution, regular physical activity reduced the risk of first and recurrent heart attack.

  • Higher levels of NO2 exposure were associated with more heart attacks, however, the risk was lower among those who were physically active.

  • Moderate cycling for four or more hours per week cut risk for recurrent heart attack by 31 percent; and a 58 percent reduction when all four types of physical activity (together totaling four hours per week or more) were combined, regardless of air quality.

  • Those who participated in sports had a 15 percent lower rate of initial heart attacks and there was a 9 percent risk reduction associated with cycling, regardless of air quality.

  • Compared to participants with low residential NO2 exposure, those in higher risk areas had a 17 percent increase risk in first heart attack and 39 percent for recurrent heart attack.


    Nadine J. Kubesch, Jeanette Therming Jørgensen, Barbara Hoffmann, Steffen Loft, Mark J. Nieuwenhuijsen, Ole Raaschou‐Nielsen, Marie Pedersen, Ole Hertel, Kim Overvad, Anne Tjønneland, Eva Prescot, Zorana J. Andersen. Effects of Leisure‐Time and Transport‐Related Physical Activities on the Risk of Incident and Recurrent Myocardial Infarction and Interaction With Traffic‐Related Air Pollution: A Cohort Study. Journal of the American Heart Association, 2018; 7 (15): e009554 DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.118.009554