A wearable device study of 88,000 people shows the heart health benefits of more strenuous physical activity

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Increasing physical activity of any intensity is beneficial to health, but new research published today in European Journal of the Heart shows that there is a greater reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease when more of this activity is of at least moderate intensity. The study, led by researchers from the Leicester Biomedical Research Center and Cambridge University of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), analyzed the physical activity data measured with the wrist accelerometer of more than 88,000 participants. to the British biobank.

Current UK Chief Medical Officers Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults should aim to be active every day and also that adults should undertake 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity (such as brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity (such as running) every week. The volume of physical activity is defined as the intensity of activity multiplied by time, but until recently it was not clear whether the overall volume of physical activity is what is most important to health, or whether a more vigorous activity confers additional benefits.

Dr. Paddy Dempsey, Research Fellow at the University of Leicester and Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, and first author of the paper, said: “Most large-scale studies up to To date they have used questionnaires to determine participants’ levels of physical activity, but the intensity and duration of physical activity is difficult to remember accurately, especially when it comes to low-intensity daily activities such as washing the car or sorting linen Without accurate records of the duration and intensity of physical activity it was not possible to distinguish the contribution of more vigorous physical activity from that of the overall volume of physical activity.

“Wearable devices helped us accurately detect and record the intensity and duration of movement for 90,000 UK biobank participants and we recently published an analysis of wearable device data showing that moderate and vigorous intensity activity offers a greater reduction in the overall risk of death. More vigorous physical activity can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, beyond the benefit seen from the total amount of physical activity, as it stimulates the body to adapt to the increased effort required . This is what we set out to investigate in the research published today. “

The authors studied the association between volume and intensity of physical activity and the incidence of cardiovascular disease in 88,412 middle-aged adults free of cardiovascular disease in Great Britain. These individuals wore a research-grade activity tracker on their dominant wrist for a week while taking part in the UK biobank study. The movement data they collected was used to calculate the total volume of activity, and the authors also worked out the percentage of that volume that was achieved through moderate and vigorous intensity activity. The number of cardiovascular events, including ischemic heart disease or cerebrovascular disease, was then recorded among study participants for a mean follow-up period of 6.8 years.

The authors found that total volume of physical activity was strongly associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and also showed that getting more total physical activity from moderate to vigorous physical activity was associated with further reduction of cardiovascular risk. Cardiovascular disease rates were 14% lower (95% CI: 5-23%) when moderate to vigorous physical activity accounted for 20% rather than 10% of overall physical activity energy expenditure, even in those who otherwise they had low levels of activity. This is equivalent to converting a 14-minute daily walk into a 7-minute brisk walk.

Overall, the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease were observed among those UK biobank participants who engaged in higher overall levels of physical activity and a higher proportion of moderate to vigorous physical activity. However, it is interesting to note that when the overall volume of physical activity increased but the rate of moderate to vigorous activity remained the same, the authors observed little effect on the rate of cardiovascular disease. For example, when overall physical activity levels doubled, there was no significant effect on cardiovascular disease rates when the rate of moderate to vigorous activity remained at 10%, but the rate of cardiovascular disease decreased by 10%. 23% and 40% when the percentage of moderate to vigorous physical activity increased by 20% and 40%, respectively.

Professor Tom Yates, Professor of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior and Health at the University of Leicester, and senior author of the paper, said: ‘Our analysis of the British biobank data confirms that the increase in the total amount of activity exercise can reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke, but we’ve also found that getting the same overall amount of physical activity through higher intensity activity has a substantial additional benefit.

“Our findings support simple behavior change messages that ‘every move counts’ to encourage people to increase their overall physical activity and, if possible, incorporate more moderately intense activities. This could be as simple as converting to a leisurely stroll. in a brisk walk, but a variety of approaches should encourage and help people find what is most practical or fun for them. ”


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More information:
Volume of physical activity, intensity and incident cardiovascular disease, European Journal of the Heart (2022). DOI: 10.1093 / eurheartj / ehac613

Provided by Leicester NHS Trust University Hospitals

Citation: A wearable device study of 88,000 people shows the heart health benefits of more strenuous physical activity (2022, October 27) retrieved October 27, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-10- wearable-device-people-heart- salute.html

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