This study aimed to examine the association of maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max) with blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) in a representative sample of healthy Swiss employees.Design and method:
In this cross-sectional study, 337 healthy and at least 80% employed adult workers were recruited in the Basel region, Switzerland. Gender, age and smoking status (yes, no more, never) were recorded. Height, weight and WC were measured and BMI was calculated. VO2max was determined using the multistage 20-meter shuttle run test. Subjects were categorized according to the 25th (P25) and 75th percentile (P75) of VO2max. HR, systolic and diastolic BP were assessed at rest prior to testing and at test termination (maximal HR) respectively two minutes after the end of the test. Group differences between P25 and P75 were analysed with Student-t test or Mann-Whitney test. Forced-entry multiple linear regression analysis was performed to identify predictors of VO2max.Results:
Complete data were available from 303 subjects aged 18 to 61 years. Descriptive statistics for total subjects, P25 and P75 are presented in Table 1. Compared to P25, subjects in P75 were mostly male, younger, had lower BMI and WC, higher resting and recovery systolic BP, lower resting but higher maximal HR and a greater difference between maximal and resting as well as recovery HR. Multiple linear regressions (Table 2) revealed that a higher VO2max was associated with a greater difference between maximal and resting HR, whereas female gender, increasing age, higher WC and current smoking contributed to a decrease of VO2max. BMI, ex-smoking, differences in BP and maximal-to-recovery HR were not related to VO2max.Conclusions:
This study provides evidence that diastolic BP is not affected by aerobic exercise, while systolic BP was increased in the fittest category. The present findings suggest that maximal aerobic capacity is associated with maximal and resting HR, but not with recovery HR. WC, but not BMI, should be preferably used to assess the association between aerobic capacity and body composition.