We examined the long-term effects of youth leisure time physical activity (LTPA) and sports participation on the prevalence of chronic work stress in adulthood.
Participants (326 men and 338 women) aged 9 to 18 years were initially enrolled in 1980 and followed until 2007. Data were collected using questionnaires and bicycle ergometry in a subgroup.
High youth LTPA and sports participation predicted lower chronic job strain in both sexes. The association was mediated by type A leadership. Participation and persistence in organized youth sports followed a similar pattern. In the subgroup, adult physical fitness only partly accounted for the association.
Sustained involvement in youth physical activity and sport lasting at least 3 years is associated with reduced chronic job strain in adulthood. The association was partially explained by type A leadership and physical fitness.