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Dose-response associations between cycling activity and risk of hypertension in regular cyclists: the UK Cycling for Health Study

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posted on 2015-11-04, 11:38 authored by M. Hollingworth, A. Harper, Mark Hamer
Most population studies on physical activity and health have involved largely inactive men and women, thus making it difficult to infer if health benefits occur at exercise levels above the current minimum guidelines. The aim was to examine associations between cycling volume and classical cardiovascular risk markers, including hypertension and hypercholesterolemia, in a population sample of habitual cyclists. A nationwide sample comprising 6949 men and women (aged 47.6 years on average) completed questions about their cycling levels, demographics and health. Nearly the entire sample (96.3%) achieved the current minimum physical activity recommendation through cycling alone. There was a dose–response association between cycling volume and risk of diagnosed hypertension (P-trend =0.001), with odds ratios of 0.98 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.80–1.21), 0.86 (0.70, 1.06), 0.67 (95% CI, 0.53–0.83) across categories of 23–40, 40–61 and >61 metabolic equivalent hours/week (MET-h/week) compared with <23 MET-h/week. These associations persisted in models adjusted for age, sex, smoking, alcohol, body mass index (BMI) and other moderatevigorous physical activities. We also observed inverse associations between cycling volume and other risk factors including BMI and hypercholesterolemia. In summary, results from a population sample of cyclists suggest that additional cardiovascular health benefits can be achieved beyond the current minimum physical activity recommendation.


Hamer is supported by The British Heart Foundation (RE/10/005/28296).



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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Journal of Human Hypertension


HOLLINGWORTH, M., HARPER, A. and HAMER, M., 2015. Dose-response associations between cycling activity and risk of hypertension in regular cyclists: the UK Cycling for Health Study. Journal of Human Hypertension, 29, pp. 219–223.


Macmillan Publishers Limited (Nature Publishing Group)


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