Long-distance skiing confers benefit for hypertension
Participating in a long-distance skiing event may help lower the risk of hypertension, with the number of completed races showing a weak association with the risk, a study has found.
The study used data from Vasaloppet, an annual long-distance cross-country ski race, and included 206,889 skiers, as well as 505,542 matched nonskiers randomly sampled from the general population. There were 83,202 events of incident hypertension (skiers: 15,053; nonskiers: 70,149) recorded over a time-at-risk of 6,388,174 years. Median age at inclusion was 38.7 years.
In Cox analysis, the incidence of hypertension during a median time-at-risk of 8.3 years was lower in skiers vs nonskiers (hazard ratio [HR], 0.59, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.58–0.60). The better the performance (in percentage of winning time) in Vasaloppet, the lower the incidence of hypertension (fastest fifth: HR, 0.41, 95 percent CI, 0.39–0.42; slowest fifth: HR, 0.78, 95 percent CI, 0.75–0.81). This association was near linear and similar in men and women.
There was a weak association observed between the number of completed races during the study period and incident hypertension among the skiers (one race: HR, 0.63, 95 percent CI, 0.62–0.65; more than five races: HR, 0.51, 95 percent CI, 0.50–0.53).
Results were consistent in a subgroup analysis of 10,804 participants that evaluated the impact of lifestyle factors.
The present data highlight the potential beneficial effects of high or very high physical fitness on the risk of hypertension, researchers said.