Background--Guidelines recommend exercise for cardiovascular health, although evidence from trials linking exercise to cardiovascular health through intermediate biomarkers remains inconsistent. We performed a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to quantify the impact of exercise on cardiorespiratory fitness and a variety of conventional and novel cardiometabolic biomarkers in adults without cardiovascular disease. Methods and Results--Two researchers selected 160 randomized controlled trials (7487 participants) based on literature searches of Medline, Embase, and Cochrane Central (January 1965 to March 2014). Data were extracted using a standardized protocol. A random-effects meta-analysis and systematic review was conducted to evaluate the effects of exercise interventions on cardiorespiratory fitness and circulating biomarkers. Exercise significantly raised absolute and relative cardiorespiratory fitness. Lipid profiles were improved in exercise groups, with lower levels of triglycerides and higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein A1. Lower levels of fasting insulin, homeostatic model assessment-insulin resistance, and glycosylated hemoglobin A1c were found in exercise groups. Compared with controls, exercise groups had higher levels of interleukin-18 and lower levels of leptin, fibrinogen, and angiotensin II. In addition, we found that the exercise effects were modified by age, sex, and health status such that people aged < 50 years, men, and people with type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, or metabolic syndrome appeared to benefit more. Conclusions--This meta-analysis showed that exercise significantly improved cardiorespiratory fitness and some cardiometabolic biomarkers. The effects of exercise were modified by age, sex, and health status. Findings from this study have significant implications for future design of targeted lifestyle interventions.
- Cardiometabolic health
- Cardiovascular disease prevention
- Exercise training
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine