Dick Thijssen

Dick ThijssenUnderstanding and underestimating man’s best medicine: Why and how fast does the heart benefit from exercise?

Thijsse, D
Radboud University (Nijmegen, the Netherlands)

The impact of exercise training and physical (in)activity in the context of (primary and secondary) prevention of cardiovascular disease is presented here. Specifically, novel imaging approaches are adopted to assess the effects of exercise training on micro- and macrovessel function and structure, and explore factors that moderate these effects (e.g. older age). These effect of exercise on the arterial wall, rather than ‘simply’ changing traditional risk factors, may explain the clinical benefits of exercise training in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. In understanding these benefits, there is a strong focus in this presentation on understanding (hemodynamic) stimuli, such as shear stress and arterial pressure, to mediate these effects of exercise training. The mechanisms why exercise is “man’s best medicine” will be explained. Finally, the concept is presented that immediate protection against cardiovascular disease is present with a single bout of exercise.