University of Oulu

KIVINIEMI, A., PERKIÖMÄKI, N., AUVINEN, J., HERRALA, S., HAUTALA, A., AHOLA, R., TAMMELIN, T., TULPPO, M., JÄRVELIN, M., KORPELAINEN, R., HUIKURI, H. (2016) Lifelong Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Autonomic Function in Midlife. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol 48, No. 8, pp. 1506-1513. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000000942

Lifelong physical activity and cardiovascular autonomic function in midlife

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Author: Kiviniemi, Antti M.1; Perkiömäki, Nelli1; Auvinen, Juha2,3;
Organizations: 1Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, FINLAND
2Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, FINLAND
3Unit of Primary Care, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, FINLAND
4Biomedical Engineering Research Group, University of Oulu, Oulu, FINLAND
5Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, FINLAND
6LIKES–Research Center for Sport and Health Sciences, Jyväskylä, FINLAND
7Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, MRC–PHE Centre for Environment and Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UNITED KINGDOM
8Biocenter Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, FINLAND
9Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Oulu Deaconess Institute, Oulu, FINLAND
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Wolters Kluwer, 2016
Publish Date: 2019-05-08


Purpose: Physical activity (PA) associates with cardiovascular autonomic function but the relationship with lifelong PA is unclear. We hypothesized that lifelong PA would associate with cardiovascular autonomic function in mid-life.

Methods: At the age of 46, the subjects of the prospective Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 were invited to examinations where vagally-mediated heart rate variability (rMSSD) and cross-spectral baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) were analysed from 3-min recordings of ECG and blood pressure in seated and standing positions. Three lifelong PA trajectory groups (active, semi-active and inactive) were formed according to their self-reported frequencies of participation in PA at the ages of 14, 31 and 46. Finally, 1,283 men and 1,779 women without cardiorespiratory diseases and diabetes had complete data on lifelong PA, covariates and rMSSD, and 662 men and 807 women for BRS.

Results: In both sexes and measurement conditions, the active (p<0.01) and semi-active groups (p<0.05) had greater rMSSD than the inactive group, and the highest BRS was observed in the active group (ANOVA p=0.001–0.032). In men, these differences were not significant when adjusted for 46-year lifestyle (smoking, alcohol consumption, sleep, and sitting time), body mass index, waist-hip-ratio, blood pressure, lipid and glucose status. In women, lifelong PA remained a significant independent determinant of seated and standing rMSSD and standing BRS.

Conclusion: Higher lifelong PA was associated with better cardiovascular autonomic function in mid-life. In women, this effect was independent but in men, it seemed to be mediated by the other lifestyle and cardiometabolic factors.

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Series: Medicine & science in sports & exercise
ISSN: 0195-9131
ISSN-E: 1530-0315
ISSN-L: 0195-9131
Volume: 48
Issue: 8
Pages: 1506 - 1513
DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000942
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
315 Sport and fitness sciences
Funding: This work was supported by the University of Oulu (grant no. 24000692); the Oulu University Hospital (grant no. 24301140); the European Regional Development Fund (grant no. 539/2010 A31592); the Academy of Finland (grant nos. 267435 and 285547); the Ministry of Education and Culture (grant no. 86/686/2014); the Sigrid Juselius Foundation; the Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research, Helsinki, Finland; and the European Union`s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant no. 633595).
EU Grant Number: (633595) DYNAHEALTH - Understanding the dynamic determinants of glucose homeostasis and social capability to promote Healthy and active aging
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 267435
Detailed Information: 267435 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
285547 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2016 by the American College of Sports Medicine. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited. This is the author’s version of the work. The definitive version was published in Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol 48, No. 8, pp. 1506-1513. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000000942