OBJECTIVE: Physical exercise helps to prevent cardiovascular disorders. Campaigns promoting exercise have taken many people to the parks of our city. The most appropriate exercise for preventing cardiovascular disorders is the aerobic modality; inappropriate exercise acutely increases cardiovascular risk, especially in individuals at higher risk. Therefore, assessing the cardiovascular risk of these individuals and their physical activities is of practical value. METHODS: In the Parque Fernando Costa, we carried out the project "Exercício e Coração" (Exercise and Heart) involving 226 individuals. Assessment of the cardiovascular risk and of the physical activity practiced by the individuals exercising at that park was performed with a questionnaire and measurement of the following parameters: blood pressure, weight, height, and waist/hip ratio. The individuals were lectured on the benefits provided by exercise and how to correctly exercise. Each participant received a customized exercise prescription. RESULTS: In regard to risk, 43% of the individuals had health problems and 7% of the healthy individuals had symptoms that could be attributed to heart disorders. High blood pressure was observed in a large amount of the population. In regard to the adequacy of the physical activity, the individuals exercised properly. The project was well accepted, because the participants not only appreciated the initiative, but also reported altering their exercise habits after taking part in the project. CONCLUSION: Data obtained in the current study point to the need to be more careful in assessing the health of individuals who exercise at parks, suggesting that city parks should have a sector designated for assessing and guiding physical activity.