The protective role of intense physical activity (PA) on chronic diseases is sustained by the high aerobic capacity, muscle strength and also the low evidence of metabolic alteration in elite athletes. Studies on detrained athletes have demonstrated the risk of metabolic syndrome (MS) onset, physical inactivity in retired athletes being associated with changes in insulin sensitivity, plasma lipids and body composition. To study the impact of physical inactivity on MS onset in retired elite male athletes, the authors completed a longitudinal retrospective case-control study, using two samples of retired top male athletes, who were involved in contact sports: an experimental group, with low level of PA (N=50, average age: 52 years) and a control one, with normal level of PA (N=50, average age: 54 years). The assessed variables were: body mass index (BMI), diagnostic parameters of MS and PA level (evaluated using the Romanian PA Questionnaire). Reporting to the tested parameters, the experimental group subjects, not involved in regular PA, had a higher risk for MS comparing to the control group subjects (p=0.001, RA=94.11%, OR=17). Retired athletes who renounce all forms of PA expose themselves to greater risks for weight gain, glucose intolerance and induction of MS than their correspondents with an active lifestyle. Remaining physically active may be helpful in protecting against much of the deterioration in health status in middle age.
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