This study of fitness’s impact on the risk of developing coronary artery disease is important because: 1) they actually measured fitness with standardized treadmill testing, rather than asking people about their physical activities, which is a garbage data collection method; and, 2) they followed people for more than 20 years. The net impact: fitness in young adulthood reduced the risk of both cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. In fact, for every minute fitness improved, risk fell by 15% and 12%, respectively. That’s a huge return on investment.

Higher levels of fitness at baseline and improvement in fitness early in adulthood are favorably associated with lower risks for CVD and mortality. Fitness and changes in fitness are associated with myocardial hypertrophy and dysfunction but not CAC. Regular efforts to ascertain and improve CRF in young adulthood may play a critical role in promoting cardiovascular health and interrupting early CVD pathogenesis.

Source: JAMA Network | JAMA Internal Medicine | Association of Fitness in Young Adulthood With Survival and Cardiovascular Risk:  The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study