According to a new study published in the European Heart Journal, physically active individuals have a lower risk for atrial fibrillation (Afib) and ventricular arrhythmias.
Researchers assessed the association between self-reported physical activity and risk for arrhythmias in 402,406 individuals aged 40-69 years from the UK Biobank. The volume of physical activity was computed in metabolic equivalent-minutes per week (MET-min/wk).
The findings showed that the total physical activity was associated with a lower risk for incident Afib, the risk reduction being more pronounced in females (HR for 1500 vs 0 MET-min/wk, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.74-0.98) than males (HR for 1500 vs 0 MET-min/wk, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.82-1.0). Total physical activity was also associated with a lower risk for ventricular arrhythmias (HR for 1500 MET-min/wk, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.64-0.96). There was no association between physical activity and the risk for bradyarrhythmias.
The authors commented: "These findings reinforce the importance of maintaining adequate physical activity habits to reduce cardiovascular disease burden." They call for further research to determine whether physical activity or structured exercise programmes can offset the higher incidence of arrhythmias in the ‘at-risk’ population.