Association of Physical Activity With Maximal and Submaximal Tests of Exercise Capacity in Middle- and Older-Aged Adults

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Mauro F.F. Mediano
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Jerome L. Fleg
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Amal A. Wanigatunga
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Tatiana R. Gonçalves
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Pablo Martinez-Amezcua
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Moyses Szklo
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Eleanor M. Simonsick
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Luigi Ferrucci
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Jennifer A. Schrack
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Although physical activity (PA) is an important determinant of exercise capacity, the association between these constructs is modest. The authors investigated the associations of self-reported and objectively measured PA with maximal and submaximal tests of exercise capacity. Participants aged ≥40 years (N = 413; 49.6% female) completed a PA questionnaire, wore a uniaxial accelerometer (5.2 ± 1.1 days), and performed maximal (cardiopulmonary exercise test [CPET]) and submaximal (long-distance corridor walk) tests with indirect calorimetry (oxygen consumption, V˙O2). Linear regression models were fitted to assess the variation in exercise capacity explained (partial eta squared, η2) by PA variables. Accelerometer-measured vigorous (η2 = 22% female; η2 = 16% male) and total PA (η2 = 17% female; η2 = 13% male) explained the most variance in CPET V˙O2 (p < .001). All η2 values were lower for long-distance corridor walk V˙O22 ≤ 11%). Age contributed more to CPET V˙O2 than any PA variable in males (η2 = 32%), but not in females (η2 = 19%). Vigorous and total PA play important roles in CPET V˙O2 in mid to late life.

Mediano is with the Evandro Chagas National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and the Department of Research and Education, National Institute of Cardiology, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Mediano, Wanigatunga, Gonçalves, Martinez-Amezcua, Szklo, and Schrack are with the Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA. Fleg is with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA. Wanigatunga and Schrack are also with the Center on Aging and Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA. Gonçalves is also with the Institute of Social Medicine, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Simonsick, Ferrucci, and Schrack are with the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Mediano (mffmediano@gmail.com) is corresponding author.
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