Impact of physical activity on inflammation: Effects on cardiovascular disease risk and other inflammatory conditions
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Since the 19th century, many studies have enlightened the role of inflammation in atherosclerosis, changing our perception of “vessel plaque due to oxidized lipoproteins”, similar to a “rusted pipe”, towards a disease with involvement of many cell types and cytokines with more complex mechanisms. Although “physical activity” and “physical exercise” are two terms with some differences in meaning, compared to sedentary lifestyle, active people have lower cardiovascular risk and lower inflammatory markers. Activities of skeletal muscle reveal “myokines” which have roles in both the immune system and adipose tissue metabolism. In vitro and ex-vivo studies have shown beneficial effects of exercise on inflammation markers. Meanwhile in clinical studies, some conflicting results suggested that type of activity, exercise duration, body composition, gender, race and age may modulate anti-inflammatory effects of physical exercise. Medical data on patients with inflammatory diseases have shown beneficial effects of exercise on disease activity scores, patient well-being and inflammatory markers. Although the most beneficial type of activity and the most relevant patient group for anti-inflammatory benefits are still not clear, studies in elderly and adult people generally support anti-inflammatory effects of physical activity and moderate exercise could be advised to patients with cardiovascular risk such as patients with metabolic syndrome.