Physical activity is a key component of lifestyle intervention but its independent contribution to weight loss and prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains unclear. We conducted a population-level follow-up study among young healthy Finnish men undergoing an intensive exercise intervention to examine the independent contribution of exercise to common CVD risk factors.
A prospective study of 1112 young men with mean age of 19.3 years (range 19-28) undergoing military service with structured exercise training program. Endurance (12-min running test) and muscle fitness performance (MFI), body composition, blood pressure and biochemical measurements were obtained at baseline and follow-up (range 6-12 months).
Both endurance performance and MFI improved during follow-up (+170 m (SD 269) and 1.5 points (2.3), respectively, p