Leisure Time Physical Activity and Risk of Mortality

Study Questions:

Is there an association between the weekend warrior and other physical activity patterns and the risks for all-cause, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer mortality?

Methods:

A pooled analysis was conducted of household-based surveillance studies, which included 11 cohorts of respondents to the Health Survey for England and Scottish Health Survey, with prospective linkage to mortality records. Respondents 40 years or older were included. Self-reported leisure time physical activity, with activity patterns defined as inactive (reporting no moderate- or vigorous-intensity activities), insufficiently active (reporting <150 minutes/week in moderate-intensity and <75 minutes/week in vigorous-intensity activities), weekend warrior (reporting ≥150 minutes/week in moderate-intensity or ≥75 minutes/week in vigorous-intensity activities from 1 or 2 sessions), and regularly active reporting ≥150 minutes/week in moderate-intensity or ≥75 minutes/week in vigorous-intensity activities from ≥3 sessions). The insufficiently active participants were also characterized by physical activity frequency. All-cause, CVD, and cancer mortality was ascertained from death certificates.

Results:

Among the 63,591 adult respondents (45.9% male; 44.1% female; mean [SD] age, 58.6 [11.9] years), 8,802 deaths from all causes, 2,780 deaths from CVD, and 2,526 from cancer occurred during 561,159 person-years of follow-up. Compared with the inactive participants, the hazard ratio (HR) for all-cause mortality was 0.66 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.62-0.72) in insufficiently active participants who reported 1-2 sessions per week, 0.70 (95% CI, 0.60-0.82) in weekend warrior participants, and 0.65 (95% CI, 0.58-0.73) in regularly active participants. Compared with the inactive participants, the HR for CVD mortality was 0.60 (95% CI, 0.52-0.69) in insufficiently active participants who reported 1 or 2 sessions per week, 0.60 (95% CI, 0.45-0.82) in weekend warrior participants, and 0.59 (95% CI, 0.48-0.73) in regularly active participants. Compared with the inactive participants, the HR for cancer mortality was 0.83 (95% CI, 0.73-0.94) in insufficiently active participants who reported 1 or 2 sessions per week, 0.82 (95% CI, 0.63-1.06) in weekend warrior participants, and 0.79 (95% CI, 0.66-0.94) in regularly active participants.

Conclusions:

Weekend warrior and other leisure time physical activity patterns characterized by 1 or 2 sessions per week may be sufficient to reduce all-cause, CVD, and cancer mortality risks regardless of adherence to prevailing physical activity guidelines.

Perspective:

The findings will be of great interest to those millions of people who find no time in their busy schedule for the 3-5 days a week of exercise regimen. While baseline measures were obtained, this type of observational study cannot discern to what degree compliance with other lifestyle measures over the 8 years of follow-up reduced the risk of heart disease and cancer in persons willing to commit time to exercise.

Clinical Topics: Cardio-Oncology, Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Disease, Prevention, Sports and Exercise Cardiology, Exercise

Keywords: Metabolic Syndrome X, Secondary Prevention, Sports, Cardiovascular Diseases, Exercise, Health Surveys, Leisure Activities, Life Style, Motor Activity, Neoplasms, Primary Prevention, Risk Factors


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