About this Research Topic
Exercise promotes cardiometabolic wellness and is effective in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity-related conditions. Despite unequivocal evidence of the cardiovascular benefits conferred by exercise, the mechanisms by which the cardiovascular system adapts to exercise remain poorly understood. Epidemiological evidence suggests that the protective effects of physical activity on cardiovascular disease are nearly double that which would be predicted based on changes in traditional risk factors; overall, 50% of the protection afforded by physical activity remains unexplained. Clearly, knowledge of the mechanisms that initiate or sustain beneficial cardiovascular adaptations would contribute to the general goal of achieving or maintaining health and stemming the tide of cardiometabolic disease. Nevertheless, several obstacles complicate our understanding how exercise promotes cardiovascular health. These include: the genetic and environmental factors that elicit different and sometimes maladaptive responses to exercise; an appropriate understanding of how exercise modulates cardiovascular health in the backdrop of pathology; the integrative nature and emergent health phenotype elicited by exercise, which can sometimes conflict with the reductionist approaches commonly used to determine mechanism; and the harmonization of basic and translational research approaches and findings. Overcoming these hurdles would appear to require a more personalized approach for optimizing exercise-induced cardiovascular benefits as well as better contiguity between basic and translational researchers. The purpose of this issue is to provide up-to-date reviews that highlight basic and translational work in the area, which we hope will not only integrate our current understanding, but synthesize and crystallize nascent questions that will help the field move forward.
“Exercise should be regarded as tribute to the heart.” – Gene Tunney, 1897–1978 CE
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