Obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes all increase the risk of developing heart disease. Thankfully, research has shown that regular exercise can reduce the risk for all of these issues, and can therefore protect against heart disease.
In fact, being fit or active can reduce the risk for heart disease by more than 50%. Even gradual and small increases in physical activity can reduce the risk. Exercise improves overall health and is good for the heart, even for people who are just starting to become more active. Simply brisk walking, for example, is associated with a 30-50% reduction in risk for heart disease, obesity, diabetes and stroke.