Physical activity is an important determinant for your health. Only 50% of the Dutch population meets the criteria to be physically active. This is associated with the increase in prevalence of chronic diseases. Therefore, prevention is playing an important role, especially focused on a physically active lifestyle. The participants of the Nijmegen 4-Day Marches represent an unique group since 92% of this population meets the criteria to be physically active throughout the entire year. Therefore, the group of participants to the Nijmegen 4-Day Marches represent a unique population to examine the relationship between physical activity and health. This could help us to answer the question 'how much exercise do you need to do to prevent cardiovascular disease?', 'When do you need to start performing exercise to benefit from it?', Does exercise training after the onset of a chronic disease influence the development of the disease?'. Through this unique study, the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre will be able to provide an answer to these important questions.
In 2011 the Department of Physiology and Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistic and HTA of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre started a longitudinal study to examine the impact of a physically active lifestyle on health, quality of life, development and progression of various (chronic) diseases. Participants of the Nijmegen 4-Day Marches were asked to fill in a questionnaire regarding their health and lifestyle. In addition, also partners, family members, friend and neighbours who do not participate in the Nijmegen 4-Day Marches were also asked to fill in the questionnaire. This will serve as a control group who does not participate in regular (walking) exercise and represents a normal control group.