The relationship between leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is not clearly understood in Indian men. It is important to elucidate whether the duration or intensity of LTPA is responsible for increasing CRF. This will help in designing better physical activity intervention strategies for improving CRF in Indian men.
Healthy nondiabetic urban Indian men with no history of coronary heart disease (CHD) were selected (n = 603; aged 22–64 years) and their energy intake and physical activity was determined using a questionnaire. Body fat (percent) was determined by leg-to-leg bioelectrical impedance analysis while CRF was measured on multistage, continuous treadmill test using Bruce protocol.
Intensity of physical activity (METs) emerged as the best independent predictor of CRF (β = 0.217; P < .001). Using univariate General Linear Model, it was found that CRF is more a function of LTPA intensity than LTPA duration, since LTPA duration was not related to CRF when controlled for LTPA intensity. However, LTPA intensity remained significantly associated with CRF even after adjustment for LTPA duration.
LTPA of preferably higher intensity should be incorporated in the lifestyle to improve CRF and prevent CHD in Indian men.