Sedentariness is an important and well-known risk factor for heart health. A recent study that highlights this was published in the magazine Circulation and entitled: “Sedentary Behavior and subclinical cardiac injury”.

As Dr. Maddalena Lettino from the Cardiovascular Department of Humanitas explains: “Sedentariness is very harmful to the heart because it predisposes to the development of atherosclerosis and can facilitate the development of coronary artery disease. In this study it was shown that leading a sedentary life could increase some of the substances that the heart releases into the circulation as a sign of suffering. It is therefore good not only to lead an active life, but to dedicate oneself to regular physical exercise: it is not enough to move as happens in the frenzy of daily life, it is necessary to try to do exercise every day, maybe even just a quick walk, for a defined time, which initially can even be half an hour, and that can be gradually increased, where possible.

For those who have more free time, in addition to walking, it would be appropriate to do a physical activity or an aerobic sport such as swimming or cycling, in an amateur way, but thus keeping active all the musculature of the body,” explained the doctor.


What precautions should be taken before physical activity?

“A medical examination should be carried out before the start of regular physical activity. In many cases this is just an opportunity to redo the point of primary prevention, re-check your blood pressure values and re-check your blood tests, especially in relation to your lipid profile and blood glucose. If, on the other hand, the doctor finds something worth investigating (poorly controlled pressure or too high a cholesterol value, chest pain that is not better clarified), a cardiological examination and an electrocardiogram will be carried out. A trivial examination like the electrocardiogram can help us understand if there is an initial suffering of the heart, if the rhythm is not regular and, sometimes, if there are the first signs of ischemia”, underlined the doctor.


Signs that should not be underestimated

“In the presence of certain signals, it is advisable to undergo a cardiological examination and carry out an electrocardiogram: “A warning sign should be considered for the appearance of acute heart disease, chest pain, an internal and important chest pain that is associated with sweating. Moreover, the presence of unusual breathing should not be underestimated, while daily life activities are taking place, or a palpitation that cannot be traced back to a triggering event”, recommends Dr. Lettino.


What checks should be carried out and at what intervals?

“From age 40 onwards, regular blood pressure and blood tests (especially lipids and blood glucose) should be carried out. If there have been cases of heart disease in the family at an early age, these checks can begin at 30 years of age. In any case, a cardiological visit should be made for suspected chest pain, which arises with physical activity and ends with the suspension of activity, for the sensation of irregular heartbeat or for an unusual or restricting lack of breath. If blood pressure and blood tests are normal, the first cardiological examination can be postponed to over 50 years of age,” the specialist concluded.