Background: Our aim was to determine the association between physical activity and physical performance, and inflammatory biomarkers in elderly persons.
Methods: One thousand four persons aged 65 years or more, participants in a cross-sectional population-based study, were included. Interviewers collected information on self-reported physical activity during the previous year. Moreover, 841 participants performed a 400-meter walking test to assess physical performance. Plasma concentrations of inflammatory biomarkers were determined.
Results: Compared to sedentary men, men practicing light and moderate-high physical activity had a significantly lower erythrocyte sedimentation rate (-0.33 and -0.40 mm/h; p =.023 and p =.006, respectively), fibrinogen level (-43 and -39 mg/dL; p =.001 and p =.004, respectively), and logarithm of C-reactive protein (CRP) (-0.43 and -0.73 mg/L; p =.025 and p <.001, respectively), whereas only those men practicing moderate-high physical activity had a significantly lower uric acid level (-0.57 mg/dL; p =.023), log(interleukin 6) levels (-0.33 pg/mL; p =.014), and log(tumor necrosis factor-alpha) (-0.31 pg/mL; p =.030). In women, those practicing light and moderate-high physical activity had significantly lower uric acid (-0.45 and -0.34 mg/dL; p =.001 and p =.039, respectively) and log(interleukin 6) levels (-0.18 and -0.30 pg/mL; p =.043 and p =.004, respectively); only those women practicing moderate-high physical activity had significantly lower log(CRP) (-0.31 mg/L; p =.020). In women, when the analysis was adjusted for body mass index, the association between physical activity and CRP was no longer significant. Similar findings were observed when we carried these analyses according to physical performance.
Conclusions: Current physical activity practice and performance are associated with inflammatory biomarkers. A significant beneficial association is already observed with light physical activity practice and intermediate performance.