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Association of objectively measured physical activity with established and novel cardiovascular biomarkers in elderly subjects: every step counts
  1. Jochen Klenk1,2,
  2. Michael Denkinger3,
  3. Thorsten Nikolaus3,
  4. Richard Peter1,
  5. Dietrich Rothenbacher1,
  6. Wolfgang Koenig4,
  7. the ActiFE Study Group
  1. 1Institute of Epidemiology and Medical Biometry, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany
  2. 2Department of Clinical Gerontology, Robert-Bosch-Hospital, Stuttgart, Germany
  3. 3Agaplesion Bethesda Clinic, Ulm, Germany
  4. 4Department of Internal Medicine II—Cardiology, University of Ulm Medical Centre, Ulm, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jochen Klenk, Institute of Epidemiology and Medical Biometry, Ulm University, Helmholtzstrasse 22, 89081 Ulm, Germany; jochen.klenk{at}


Objective To analyse the relationship between objectively measured daily walking duration and cardiovascular biomarkers of inflammation, cardiac dysfunction and renal impairment.

Methods Between March 2009 and April 2010, physical activity was assessed in 1253 community-dwelling individuals living in Germany aged ≥65 years (57% men) over 1 week using a thigh-worn accelerometer. C reactive protein (CRP), white blood cells (WBC), N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide, high-sensitive troponin T (hsTnT), creatinine (Cr) and cystatin C (CysC) were also measured. Least-square means of daily walking duration were calculated for quartiles of each biomarker adjusted for sex, age, pre-existing cardiovascular disease and smoking status.

Results After adjustment for covariates, statistically significant linear associations with walking duration were observed for WBC, hsTnT, Cr and CysC. CRP quartiles 1 and 2 showed no significant difference followed by a significant inverse dose–response relationship. A similar pattern, but less pronounced, was seen for N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide. Mean differences between the first two quartiles of CRP and its fourth quartile were 17 min. Between categories 1 (more beneficial) and 4 of WBC, hsTnT, Cr and CysC the differences were 15, 12, 23 and 20 min, respectively.

Conclusion Increased walking duration is associated with a more favourable profile of cardiovascular biomarkers in elderly subjects.

  • Activity
  • elderly
  • walking
  • cardiovascular
  • biomarker
  • epidemiology
  • methodology
  • physical activity
  • ageing
  • cancer: breast
  • coronary heart disease
  • diabetes
  • epidemiology
  • renal

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  • Funding The study was funded by a grant from the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts, state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany as part of the Geriatric Competence Center, Ulm University. MD was supported by a “Forschungskolleg Geriatrie” grant from the Robert Bosch Foundation, Stuttgart, Germany. None of the sources had any influence on the content.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the ethical committee of Ulm University.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.