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Open Access Research article

Associations between VO2max and vitality in older workers: a cross-sectional study

Jorien E Strijk1, Karin I Proper12, Linda Klaver1, Allard J van der Beek12* and Willem van Mechelen12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 Body@Work, Research Center Physical Activity, Work and Health, TNO-VUmc, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:684  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-684

Published: 9 November 2010

Abstract

Background

To prevent early exit from work, it is important to study which factors contribute to healthy ageing. One concept that is assumed to be closely related to, and therefore may influence healthy ageing, is vitality. Vitality consists of both a mental and a physical component, and is characterised by a perceived high energy level, decreased feelings of fatigue, and feeling fit. Since VO2max gives an indication of one's aerobic fitness, which can be improved by increased levels of physical activity, and because feeling fit is one of the main characteristics of vitality, it is hypothesised that VO2max is related to vitality. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the associations between VO2max and vitality.

Methods

In 427 older workers (aged 45 + years) participating in the Vital@Work study, VO2max was estimated at baseline using the 2-km UKK walk test. Vitality was measured by both the UWES Vitality Scale and the RAND-36 Vitality Scale. Associations were analysed using linear regression analyses.

Results

The linear regression models, adjusted for age, showed a significant association between VO2max and vitality measured with the RAND-36 Vitality Scale (β = 0.446; 95% CI: 0.220-0.673). There was no significant association between VO2max and vitality measured with the UWES (β = -0.006; 95% CI:-0.017 - 0.006), after adjusting for age, gender and chronic disease status.

Conclusions

VO2max was associated with a general measure of vitality (measured with the RAND-36 Vitality Scale), but not with occupational health related vitality (measured with the UWES Vitality Scale). The idea that physical exercise can be used as an effective tool for improving vitality was supported in this study.

Trial registration

NTR1240