Exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular events, including through an underrecognized, clinically useful form of acute cardioprotection accessible after a single episode of exercise, which is called cardiovascular preconditioning.
Preclinical evidence shows that 1 to 3 episodes of exercise per week will provide strong cardioprotection; gradual, modest cardiovascular risk factor modification or physiological artery remodeling cannot fully explain these benefits. This review highlights preclinical evidence that acute exercise-induced cardiac preconditioning has the ability to activate multiple pathways to confer immediate protection against ischemic events, reduce the severity of potentially lethal ischemic myocardiac injury, and act as a physiological first line of defense.
Conclusions and Relevance
Independent of the protective benefits of long-term exercise training on risk factors and adaptation of the cardiovascular system, cardiovascular preconditioning may contribute to the immediate cardioprotection of exercise. In practical terms, this means that 1 episode of exercise can create clinically relevant cardioprotection.
Thijssen DHJ, Redington A, George KP, Hopman MTE, Jones H. Association of Exercise Preconditioning With Immediate Cardioprotection: A Review. JAMA Cardiol. 2018;3(2):169–176. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2017.4495
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