Proceedings of The Physiological Society

University of Manchester (2010) Proc Physiol Soc 19, C40

Oral Communications

The effect of physical activity on haematological predictors of cardiovascular risk - evidence of a dose response.

R. A. Adams1, P. Foley1, S. Hicks1, S. Potter1, T. P. Higgins2, S. Evans1

1. Cardiff School of Health Sciences, UWIC, Cardiff, United Kingdom. 2. Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff Universtiy, Cardiff, United Kingdom.


Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the developed world. Large epidemiological studies have reported a strong association between increases in haematological factors and increased cardiovascular risk. Haematological risk factors predicted cardiovascular disease at least as strongly as traditional risk factors such as blood lipid concentrations(Yarnell et al (2004); Tzoulaki et al, 2007). Lifestyle factors such as physical activity level could significantly reduce risk. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that increased levels of physical activity are associated with reduced haematological risk. Healthy subjects (156) were recruited. Physical activity in subjects was assessed by IPAQ physical activity questionnaire. Blood was collected and blood cell counts were determined by automated cell counter and neutrophil elastase was determined by ELISA. Correlation analysis between variables was performed by calculation of Pearson correlation coefficient and the corresponding P values were calculated. Increased levels of physical activity were associated with reduced red cell (r=-0.323;p=0.001), white cell (r=-0.243;p=0.002) and platelet counts (r=-0.303;p=0.001) and with reduced plasma neutrophil elastase concentration (r=-0.393;p=0.001). There was a continuous linear relationship between increase in physical activity and decrease in haematological risk factors. We conclude that increased levels of physical activity improve the flow properties of blood and thus reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Even small increases in activity result in some reduction in cardiovascular risk.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements