Background Aging has been associated with an increase in arterial stiffness. We analyzed the relationship between regular physical activity and cardiovascular aging evaluated by the radial augmentation index (rAIx), ambulatory arterial stiffness index (AASI), pulse pressure (PP) and heart age in subjects without atherosclerotic disease.
Methods A cross-sectional study was performed including 1365 subjects from the EVIDENT trial (mean age 54.9 ± 13.7 years; 60.3% women). As a measure of total volume of physical activity we used counts/minute recorded in an accelerometer (Actigraph GT3X) that participants wore for seven days, collecting data in 60-sec epochs, and respondents with ≥4 valid days were retained for the analysis. Arterial stiffness was evaluated using measures of rAIx, AASI, and central and peripheral PP on the B-pro device. rAIx was adjusted to 75 heart rate(rAIx75). Cardiovascular risk and heart age was estimated by the Framingham Risk Score.
Results The median (IQR) of counts/min was 236.9 (176.3-307.8), rAIx75 90 (77-100), sleep PP 40 mmHg (33-47), central PP 39 mmHg (32-47) and heart age 57 years (45-73) and the mean ± SD of the ASSI was 0.44 ± 0.07. We found an inverse correlation between counts/minute and rAIx75 (r = -0.086; p < 0.01), AASI (r = -0.146; p < 0.001), heart age (r = -0.163; p < 0.001) and peripherals PP. These associations were remained after controlling for potential confounders, except for rAIx75. In the multiple regression analysis, after adjustment, an inverse association persisted between counts/minute and AASI, sleep PP and heart age, but not with rAIx75. Accordingly, for every 100 higher counts/minute of accelerometer measures, both AASI and sleep PP would be lower by one measurement unit (beta = -0.979 and -1.031 respectively, p < 0.001) and the estimated heart age by half year (beta = -0.525, p = 0.023).
Conclusion Regular physical activity was inversely associated with parameters related to advanced cardiovascular aging after adjustment for potentially influencing variables.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01083082