(HealthDay News) – Leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) correlates with a reduction in the risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS), with the intensity of exercise, rather than the volume, impacting the risk.

Adam Hoegsbro Laursen, from the Bispebjerg University Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues prospectively analyzed data from 10,135 men and women aged 21–98 years who were initially examined in 1991–1994 and followed for 10 years. The correlation of LTPA, jogging, walking speed, and walking volume with MetS was assessed at baseline and at the 10-year follow-up.

The researchers found that the baseline prevalence of MetS was 20.7 and 27.3% in women and men, respectively. Lower LTPA and walking speed correlated with the prevalence of MetS in both men and women, while the prevalence was lower in joggers than non-joggers. At the 10-year follow-up, 15.4% of subjects who were free of MetS at baseline had developed MetS. After adjustment, the odds ratio of developing MetS was reduced in those with moderate/high LTPA (0.71; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.50–1.01), fast walking speed (0.51; 95% CI, 0.33–0.80), and joggers (0.60; 95% CI, 0.37–0.95), while the odds ratio for walking more than one hour per day was 1.22 (95% CI, 0.91–1.65).

“Our results confirm the role of physical activity in reducing MetS risk and suggest that intensity more than volume of physical activity is important,” the authors write.

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