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  • Author: Susan Sullivan Glenney x
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Susan Sullivan Glenney, Derrick Paul Brockemer, Andy C. Ng, Michael A. Smolewski, Vladimir M. Smolgovskiy and Adam S. Lepley

Background: Studies have demonstrated beneficial effects of exercise on cardiovascular disease biomarkers for healthy individuals; however, a comprehensive review regarding the effect of exercise on cardiovascular disease biomarkers in at-risk populations is lacking. Methods: A literature search was performed to identify studies meeting the following criteria: randomized controlled study, participants with pathology/activity limitations, biomarker outcome (total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein, C-reactive protein, insulin, triglycerides, or glucose), and exercise intervention. Means and standard deviations from each biomarker were used to calculate standardized Cohen’s d effect sizes with 95% confidence intervals. Results: In total, 37 articles were included. The majority (44/57; 77%) of data points demonstrated moderate to strong effects for the reduction in total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein, and elevation in high-density lipoprotein following exercise. The majority of data points demonstrated strong effects for reductions in blood glucose (24/30; 80%) and insulin (23/24; 96%) levels following exercise intervention. Conclusion: Evidence is heterogeneous regarding the influence of exercise on cardiovascular disease biomarkers in at-risk patients, which does not allow a definitive conclusion. Favorable effects include reductions in triglycerides, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, glucose, and insulin, and elevation in high-density lipoprotein following exercise intervention. The strongest evidence indicates that exercise is favorable for the reduction in glucose and cholesterol levels among obese patients, and reduction of insulin regardless of population.