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The Role of Physical Activity and Physical Fitness on Biomarkers Associated with Depression and Cardiovascular Disease

Description: Two important health issues that can develop during young adulthood are related to mental health (e.g., depression) and physical health (e.g., cardiovascular disease). A common characteristic for both of these diseases is low-grade and chronic inflammation, but inflammation is negatively associated with physical activity (PA) and physical fitness. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate how PA and physical fitness were associated with biomarkers for depression and cardiovascular disease. Participants included 41 undergraduates who were considered to be "physical fit" (n = 21, Males = 15) or "physically unfit" (n = 20, Males = 17). They completed a battery of physical fitness assessments (e.g., 20m shuttle run, body fat percentage, handgrip strength, push-ups, blood pressure, and waist circumference), a self-report measure for depression and stress, and wore an accelerometer for one week. Afterwards, blood was drawn to estimate CVD risk using biomarkers for metabolic syndrome (i.e., triglycerides, glucose, and HDL) and inflammation (i.e., C-reactive protein [CRP], interleukin-6, interleukin-1b, and tumor necrosis factor alpha). The physically fit group had more moderate and vigorous PA, lower body fat percentage and handgrip strength scores, and performed better on the VO2max, curl-up, and plank tests compared to the physically unfit group. They also had a healthier profile for CVD (i.e., smaller waist circumference, lower triglycerides and glucose concentrations, higher HDL, and lower CRP) and lower self-reported depression and stress scores compared to the physically unfit group.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Barton, John Mitchell
Partner: UNT Libraries