The more a person engages in leisure-time physical activity, the less risk they have for HF, according to new research.
Researchers also found a similar but less pronounced association between greater total physical activity and lower risk for HF.
Kasper Andersen, MD, PhD, and colleagues analyzed 39,805 people who completed a medical-history and lifestyle questionnaire in Sweden in 1997. All participants were aged 20 to 90 years and free of HF at baseline. They were followed through 2010 for diagnosis of HF of any cause and HF of non-ischemic origin.
Participants were stratified into quintiles by leisure-time physical activity level and by total physical activity level, as reported by participants in the questionnaire.
During a median follow-up of 13.3 years, 3.9% of all participants had a first hospitalization for HF of any cause, and 2.63% of participants without a history of MI at baseline experienced non-ischemic HF, Anderson and colleagues found.
After adjustment for age, sex and education, compared with the quintile of lowest leisure-time physical activity levels, those in the quintile of highest lowest leisure-time physical activity levels were at reduced risk for HF of any cause (HR=0.54; 95% CI, 0.44-0.66) and non-ischemic HF (HR=0.51; 95% CI, 0.4-0.64), the researchers wrote. After adjustment for age, sex, alcohol use, BMI, diabetes, hypertension, smoking, snuff use and waist-hip ratio, the difference between the groups remained but was slightly smaller (HR for all HF=0.65; 95% CI, 0.53-0.81; HR for non-ischemic HF=0.61; 95% CI, 0.48-0.78), they found.
After adjustment for age, sex, education and previous MI, those with the highest levels of total physical activity were at reduced risk for HF of any cause compared with those with the lowest levels (HR=0.81; 95% CI, 0.69-0.95), but the effect was less pronounced than for leisure-time physical activity, according to Andersen, of the department of medical sciences at Uppsala University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden, and colleagues.
“You do not need to run a marathon to gain the benefits of physical activity — even quite low levels of activity can give you positive effects,” Andersen said in a press release. “Physical activity lowers many heart disease risk factors, which in turn lowers the risk of developing [HF] as well as other heart diseases. Our research suggests that everyone could benefit from getting out there and moving every day.”
Disclosure: The study was supported by Ericsson, Ica Sweden and the Swedish Cancer Society. One researcher reports serving on an advisory board for Itrim. Another reports receiving consulting fees from Novo Nordisk.