Objective: Evaluate the association of physical activity with LV structure and function in the general population in a community setting.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: The Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a population-based study of subclinical atherosclerosis.
Participants: A multiethnic sample of 4992 participants (age 45-84 years; 52% female) free of clinically apparent cardiovascular disease.
Interventions: Physical activity induces a beneficial physiologic cardiac remodeling in the cross-sectional study of non-athlete individuals.
Main outcome measures: LV mass, volumes and function were assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Physical activity, defined as intentional exercise and total moderate and vigorous physical activity, was assessed by a standard semi quantitative questionnaire.
Results: LV mass and end diastolic volume were positively associated with physical activity [e.g., 1.4 g/m2 (women) and 3.1 g/m2 (men) greater LV mass in the highest category of intentional exercise compared to individuals reporting no intentional exercise; p=0.05 and <0.001, respectively]. Relationships were non-linear with stronger positive associations at lower levels of physical activity (test for non-linearity; p=0.02 and p=0.03, respectively). Cardiac output and ejection fraction were unchanged with increased physical activity levels. Resting heart rate was lower in women and men with higher physical activity levels [e.g., -2.6 beats/minute lower resting heart rate in the highest category of intentional exercise compared to individuals reporting no intentional exercise; p<0.001].
Conclusions: In a community-based population free of clinically apparent cardiovascular disease, higher physical activity levels were associated with proportionally greater LV mass and end-diastolic volume and lower resting heart rate.
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