BACKGROUND: Studies indicate that physical activity during leisure and work have opposite associations with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, referred to as the physical activity health paradox. We investigated how sedentary behaviour and physical activity types during leisure and work are associated with systolic blood pressure (SBP), waist circumference (WC), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in an adult general population sample using compositional data analysis.
METHODS: Participants wore accelerometers for 7 days (right thigh and iliac crest; 24 h/day) and had their SBP, WC, and LDL-C measured. Accelerometer data was analysed using the software Acti4 to derive daily time spent in sedentary behaviour and physical activity types. The measure of association was quantified by reallocating time between sedentary behaviour and 1) walking, and 2) high-intensity physical activity (HIPA; sum of climbing stairs, running, cycling, and rowing), during both domains.
RESULTS: In total, 652 participants were included in the analyses (median wear time: 6 days, 23.8 h/day). During leisure, the results indicated that less sedentary behaviour and more walking or more HIPA was associated with lower SBP, while during work, the findings indicated an association with higher SBP. During both domains, the findings indicated that less sedentary behaviour and more HIPA was associated with a smaller WC and lower LDL-C. However, the findings indicated less sedentary behaviour and more walking to be associated with a larger WC and higher LDL-C, regardless of domain.
CONCLUSIONS: During leisure, less sedentary behaviour and more walking or HIPA seems to be associated with a lower SBP, but, during work, it seems to be associated with a higher SBP. No consistent differences between domains were observed for WC and LDL-C. These findings highlight the importance of considering the physical activity health paradox, at least for some risk factors for CVD.