Sports activities at a young age decrease hypertension risk—The J-Fit+ study

Hiroshi Kumagai*, Eri Miyamoto-Mikami, Yuki Someya, Tetsuhiro Kidokoro, Brendan Miller, Michi Emma Kumagai, Masaki Yoshioka, Youngju Choi, Kaname Tagawa, Seiji Maeda, Yoshimitsu Kohmura, Koya Suzuki, Shuichi Machida, Hisashi Naito, Noriyuki Fuku*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study aimed to assess (1) blood pressure between young, current athletes, and non-athletes early in life; (2) hypertension prevalence between former athletes and the general population later in life; and (3) understand the mechanisms between exercise training and hypertension risks in the form of DNA methylation. Study 1: A total of 354 young male participants, including current athletes, underwent blood pressure assessment. Study 2: The prevalence of hypertension in 1269 male former athletes was compared with that in the Japanese general population. Current and former athletes were divided into three groups: endurance-, mixed-, and sprint/power-group. Study 3: We analyzed the effect of aerobic- or resistance-training on DNA methylation patterns using publicly available datasets to explore the possible underlying mechanisms. In young, current athletes, the mixed- and sprint/power-group exhibited higher systolic blood pressure, and all groups exhibited higher pulse pressure than non-athletes. In contrast, the prevalence of hypertension in former athletes was significantly lower in all groups than in the general population. Compared to endurance-group (reference), adjusted-hazard ratios for the incidence of hypertension among mixed- and sprint/power-group were 1.24 (0.87–1.84) and 1.50 (1.04–2.23), respectively. Moreover, aerobic- and resistance-training commonly modified over 3000 DNA methylation sites in skeletal muscle, and these were suggested to be associated with cardiovascular function-related pathways. These findings suggest that the high blood pressure induced by exercise training at a young age does not influence the development of future hypertension. Furthermore, previous exercise training experiences at a young age could decrease the risk of future hypertension.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15364
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun


  • DNA methylation
  • blood pressure
  • exercise experience
  • former athletes
  • young athletes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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