We assessed associations between physical activity and lung function, and its decline, in the prospective population-based European Community Respiratory Health Survey cohort.Methods
FEV1 and FVC were measured in 3912 participants at 27–57 years and 39–67 years (mean time between examinations=11.1 years). Physical activity frequency and duration were assessed using questionnaires and used to identify active individuals (physical activity ≥2 times and ≥1 hour per week) at each examination. Adjusted mixed linear regression models assessed associations of regular physical activity with FEV1 and FVC.Results
Physical activity frequency and duration increased over the study period. In adjusted models, active individuals at the first examination had higher FEV1 (43.6 mL (95% CI 12.0 to 75.1)) and FVC (53.9 mL (95% CI 17.8 to 89.9)) at both examinations than their non-active counterparts. These associations appeared restricted to current smokers. In the whole population, FEV1 and FVC were higher among those who changed from inactive to active during the follow-up (38.0 mL (95% CI 15.8 to 60.3) and 54.2 mL (95% CI 25.1 to 83.3), respectively) and who were consistently active, compared with those consistently non-active. No associations were found for lung function decline.Conclusion
Leisure-time vigorous physical activity was associated with higher FEV1 and FVC over a 10-year period among current smokers, but not with FEV1 and FVC decline.