Non-Exercise Physical Activity: Longevity and Heart Health Interview with:
Elin Ekblom Bak | Doktorand
Institutionen för Medicin, Enheten för klinisk epidemiologi,
Karolinska universitetssjukhuset Solna
114 86 Stockholm What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: That we, in a large sample of 60 y old men and women, found that a generally active day life (compared with an inactive daily life) was significantly associated with a better metabolic health at baseline, and a reduced risk with 27% for a first time cardiovascular event and 30% for all-cause mortality during 12.5 years of follow up. This was seen regardless of intentional exercise. Why this is important is because the focus is often of just exercise for health benefits and longevity. Exercise is still important, but, as we saw in this study, the activity that we do during the extended hours of daily living is as important and has a significant effect on cardiovascular health and longevity. These results are in a reversed way in line with the detrimental effects of prolonged sitting (regardless exercise habits) now frequently reported in an increasing amount of research studies. This is because sedentary time mainly replaces time in daily activity, and vice versa (daily activity replace time spent sitting). Were any of the findings unexpected?

Not totally unexpected, but we did not expect that strong independent associations with higher levels of daily activity with such important prospective outcomes as cardiovascular disease and mortality. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Promoting daily life activities is as important as recommending regular exercise for older adults for cardiovascular health and longevity. This is particularly important for older adults as they tend, compared to other age groups, to spend a greater portion of their active day performing NEPA as they often finds it difficult to achieve recommended exercise intensity levels. Though, one should not forget that exercise regularly on higher intensity levels is still important. We saw that those who exercised regularly and that also had a daily physically active life had the lowest risk profile of all. The issue here is that the proportion of time spent doing intentional exercise usually consists of only a fraction of the day (a large part of the general population even lacks daily exercise), which leaves a great deal of time for daily activities or sitting. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

When evaluating the importance of physical activity/inactivity, one have to consider all different components of the daily movement pattern; time spent sitting, time in daily activity (non-exercise physical activity), and time in exercise.


The importance of non-exercise physical activity for cardiovascular health and longevity

Elin Ekblom-Bak, Björn Ekblom, Max Vikström, Ulf de Faire, Mai-Lis Hellénius

Br J Sports Med bjsports-2012-092038Published Online First: 28 October 2013 doi:10.1136/bjsports-2012-092038

Last Updated on November 10, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD