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Exercising or having sex periodically may increase the risk for a cardiac event, but overall risk is low

March 22, 2011|By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times
  • Increasing exercise may lower the risk of a heart attack or sudden cardiac death, a study found
Increasing exercise may lower the risk of a heart attack or sudden cardiac… (Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles…)

Exercising or having sex could increase chances of having a cardiac event in the short-term, although the overall risk is low and decreases with regular exercise, a study finds.

Researchers analyzed 14 studies looking at the effects of exercise and sex on sudden cardiac death and myocardial infarction, or heart attack. They found periodic physical activity was associated with a 3.5-times increased risk of heart attack, and occasional sexual activity was linked with a 2.7-times increased risk of heart attack. Periodic physical activity was also linked with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death.

However, the more exercise people did, the lower their risk of acute cardiac events. For each time someone exercised during the week, the relative risk of a bout of exercise prompting a heart attack decreased by about 45%, and for sudden cardiac death it decreased 30%.

The study was released Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn.

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