Unfit women are around four times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease or other causes than those with a good fitness level, research suggests.
The annual rate of death from cardiovascular disease was almost four times higher in women with poor exercise capacity while death rates from other causes were more than four times higher.
There were double the number of annual cancer deaths in women with a poor exercise capacity compared to those who were ranked as “good”.
The Spanish research was presented at EuroEcho 2019, a congress of the European Society of Cardiology in Vienna, Austria.
Study author Dr Jesus Peteiro, of University Hospital A Coruna, Spain, said: “Exercise as much as you can. Fitness protects against death from any cause.”
The study involved 4,714 women referred because of known or suspected coronary artery disease.
They were mainly middle-aged or older women, with an average age of 64.
The participants walked or ran on a treadmill, increasing the intensity and continuing until exhaustion.
Dr Peteiro added: “Looking at the examinations, women whose heart works normally during exercise are unlikely to have a cardiovascular event.
“But if their exercise capacity is poor, they are still at risk of death from cancer or other causes.
“The best situation is to have normal heart performance during exercise and good exercise capacity.”