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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 165078, 11 pages
Review Article

Effects of Physical (In)activity on Platelet Function

Institute of Physiology-Centre for Physiology & Pharmacology, Medical University of Vienna, Schwarzspanierstraße 17, 1090 Vienna, Austria

Received 15 March 2015; Accepted 19 April 2015

Academic Editor: Pasquale Pagliaro

Copyright © 2015 Stefan Heber and Ivo Volf. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


As platelet activation is closely related to the liberation of growth factors and inflammatory mediators, platelets play a central role in the development of CVD. Virtually all cardiovascular risk factors favor platelet hyperreactivity and, accordingly, also physical (in)activity affects platelet function. Within this paper, we will summarize and discuss the current knowledge on the impact of acute and habitual exercise on platelet function. Although there are apparent discrepancies regarding the reported effects of acute, strenuous exercise on platelet activation, a deeper analysis of the available literature reveals that the applied exercise intensity and the subjects’ cardiorespiratory fitness represent critical determinants for the observed effects. Consideration of these factors leads to the summary that (i) acute, strenuous exercise can lead to platelet activation, (ii) regular physical activity and/or physical fitness diminish or prevent platelet activation in response to acute exercise, and (iii) habitual physical activity and/or physical fitness also favorably modulate platelet function at physical rest. Notably, these effects of exercise on platelet function show obvious similarities to the well-recognized relation between exercise and the risk for cardiovascular events where vigorous exercise transiently increases the risk for myocardial infarction and a physically active lifestyle dramatically reduces cardiovascular mortality.