Exercise has multiple beneficial actions, both in normal subjects and in patients with coronary artery disease, which can be cardioprotective. A part from reducing known risk factors and protecting against their deleterious effects, exercise also reduces the risk of coronary artery disease by increasing cardiovascular fitness. The exact contribution of each of these mechanisms in reducing coronary artery disease morbidity and mortality is unclear. Although fitness may be desirable, much of the cardioprotection can be achieved through increased leisure time and recreational physical activity. The risk-benefit ratio is very much in favor of moderate intensity exercise. Even in the absence of a controlled trial, the available evidence suggests that efforts to encourage physical activity are justified.
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