Regular exercise that meets or exceeds the current physical activity guidelines is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality. Therefore, exercise training plays an important role in primary and secondary prevention of CVD. In this part 1 of a 4-part focus seminar series, we highlight the mechanisms and physiological adaptations responsible for the cardioprotective effects of exercise. This includes an increase in cardiorespiratory fitness secondary to cardiac, vascular, and skeletal muscle adaptations and an improvement in traditional and nontraditional CVD risk factors by exercise training. This extends to the role of exercise and its prescription in patients with CVDs (eg, coronary artery disease, chronic heart failure, peripheral artery disease, or atrial fibrillation) with special focus on the optimal mode, dosage, duration, and intensity of exercise to reduce CVD risk and improve clinical outcomes in these patients.