Reduce Cardiovascular risk through Exercise

23 Mar, 2020

What is cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease is one of the Australia’s largest health problems, affecting one in six Australians and is the leading cause of death and disease burden. [1]

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to a range of conditions that affect the heart and the blood vessels. The term includes diseases such as coronary heart disease, heart failure, cardiomyopathy, congenital heart disease, peripheral vascular disease and stroke. [2]

  • Coronary heart disease
Reduce Cardiovascular Risk Through Exercise

Heart attack – caused when blood supply to the heart is blocked completely. The lack of blood supply often causes damage to the heart muscle and function.

Angina – temporary shortage of blood supply to the heart causes short episodes of chest pain to occur.

  • Heart failure – the heart is unable to pump the required blood flow throughout the body.
  • Congenital heart disease – defects of the heart or blood vessels present from birth.
  • Peripheral vascular disease – blood supply to the peripheries is blocked.
  • Stroke – caused by blockage or bleed of an artery supplying blood to the brain.

What are the risk factors for cardiovascular disease?

  • Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol)
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High blood pressure
  • Family history

Many risk factors for cardiovascular disease are modifiable with specific preventive measures. One such risk factor that Physiotherapists or Exercise Physiologists can assist with is a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise and physical activity are a safe and effective treatment for reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease and has many additional benefits for those with cardiovascular disease.

What are the benefits of exercise?

  • Improves cardiovascular risk by lowering levels of blood cholesterol and other fats, blood sugar and blood pressure.
  • Improved cardiovascular fitness
  • Reduced blood pressure and improved coronary blood flow
  • Improves body composition (reduced abdominal adipose tissue)
  • Improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity and may prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes.
  • Regular exercise is associated with elevated psychosocial well being (reduced stress, anxiety and depression)
  • Exercise can improve physical fitness, quality of life and perhaps reduce mortality.
  • Increases muscle strength and endurance. [3]

Types of exercise

A combination of aerobic and resistance exercises has been shown to be beneficial in reducing cardiovascular risk and decreased risk of mortality with chronic conditions.

Swimming, walking, dancing or cycling are all types of aerobic exercises that are beneficial in improving physical fitness. Resistance exercises are beneficial for improving muscle strength and can be completed using bodyweight, resistance bands or weights.

Australia’s physical activity guidelines for adults recommend accumulating 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity and to do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week [4]. If you are physically inactive, start by doing some exercise that you enjoy and gradually build up to the recommended amount. Our team members at Generation Physio can help with this.

How Gen Physio can help:

It is recommended that you consult a professional before beginning a new exercise program to assess your physical capacity and safety with physical activity. Here at Gen Physio our Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists will be able to help achieve your goals through a personalised treatment plan.

Being physically fit and active will help you get the most out of life, whatever your age.

What to do now

If you are suffering from cardiovascular disease or would like to improve your fitness and lifestyle give us a call, we have a friendly team of professionals that are dedicated to changing the lives of our clients. All our clinicians are mobile and come to your own home to conduct an examination. Give us a call on 1300 122 884 to book a consultation today.


[1] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2019). Cardiovascular disease. Retrieved from

[2] Department of Health (2016) Cardiovascular disease. Retrieved from

[3] Peterson. D (2019) The benefits and risks of aerobic exercise. Retrieved from Up to date database

[4] Department of Health. (2019) Australia’s Physical Activity Guidelines and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines and the Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines. Retrieved from

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