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Sustained and Shorter Bouts of Physical Activity Are Related to Cardiovascular Health

GLAZER, NICOLE L.1; LYASS, ASYA2,3; ESLIGER, DALE W.4; BLEASE, SUSAN J.2; FREEDSON, PATTY S.5; MASSARO, JOSEPH M.2,3; MURABITO, JOANNE M.2,6; VASAN, RAMACHANDRAN S.1,2

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: January 2013 - Volume 45 - Issue 1 - p 109–115
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31826beae5
Epidemiology

Purpose: Whereas greater physical activity (PA) is known to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD), the relative importance of performing PA in sustained bouts of activity versus shorter bouts of activity on CVD risk is not known. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA), measured in bouts ≥10 and <10 min, and CVD risk factors in a well-characterized community-based sample of white adults.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 2109 participants in the Third Generation Cohort of the Framingham Heart Study (mean age = 47 yr, 55% women) who underwent objective assessment of PA by accelerometry over 5–7 d. Total MVPA, MVPA done in bouts ≥10 min (MVPA10+), and MVPA done in bouts <10 min (MVPA<10) were calculated. MVPA exposures were related to individual CVD risk factors, including measures of adiposity and blood lipid and glucose levels, using linear and logistic regression.

Results: Total MVPA was significantly associated with higher HDL levels and with lower triglycerides, BMI, waist circumference, and Framingham risk score (P < 0.0001). MVPA<10 showed similar statistically significant associations with these CVD risk factors (P < 0.001). Compliance with national guidelines (≥150 min of total MVPA) was significantly related to lower BMI, triglycerides, Framingham risk score, waist circumference, higher HDL, and a lower prevalence of obesity and impaired fasting glucose (P < 0.001 for all).

Conclusions: Our cross-sectional observations on a large middle-age community-based sample confirm a positive association of MVPA with a healthier CVD risk factor profile and indicate that accruing PA in bouts <10 min may favorably influence cardiometabolic risk. Additional investigations are warranted to confirm our findings.

1Section of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA; 2National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, MA; 3Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Boston University, Boston, MA; 4School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UNITED KINGDOM; 5Department of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA; and 6Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA

Address for correspondence: Nicole L. Glazer, M.P.H., Ph.D., Section of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Boston University School of Medicine, 801 Massachusetts Ave., Suite 470, Boston, MA 02118; E-mail: nlglazer@bu.edu.

Submitted for publication March 2012.

Accepted for publication July 2012.

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©2013The American College of Sports Medicine