Purpose: To examine the long-term association of leisure time physical activity (LTPA) and risk of death from coronary heart disease (CHD) and all-causes.
Methods: Data are from a prospective study of 12,138 middle-aged men at high risk for CHD participating in the MRFIT. Men were classified into deciles based on average min/d of LTPA reported at baseline, which were compared with cumulative CHD and all-cause mortality endpoints at the 16-year follow-up.
Results: Men in the least-active decile of LTPA who averaged 4.9 min/d of LTPA (range 0 to .9 min/d) had excess age-adjusted mortality rates of 29% and 22% for CHD and all-causes, respectively, as compared to those in combined deciles 2 to 4, who averaged 22.7 min/d of predominantly light and moderate LTPA (range 10-36 min/d). No further decrement in mortality rates was noted in those in the higher declines of LTPA. These associations remained significant (P < 0.05) after proportional hazards adjustments for additional possible confounding variables.
Conclusion: These data suggest that a relatively small amount (10 to 36 min/d) of daily moderate intensity LTPA can significantly reduce premature mortality, particularly from CHD, in middle-aged and older men at high risk for CHD.