Aerobic exercise training is associated with lower central arterial stiffness, but little information exists on the effects of physical activity intensity or duration on central arterial stiffness. Using a cross-sectional and interventional approach, we tested the hypothesis that both moderate and vigorous physical activity reduce central arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women.
Carotid arterial stiffness (via ultrasound and applanation tonometry) and duration of physical activity at low, moderate, and vigorous intensities (via electronic accelerometer) were measured in 103 apparently healthy sedentary or recreationally active women 47 to 82 years of age. Moderate intensity physical activity was defined as 4.0 to 6.0 metabolic equivalents (MET) in subjects aged <65 years and as 3.0 to 5.0 MET in subjects >or=65 years. A subgroup of 17 sedentary subjects was randomly assigned to moderate (n = 8) or vigorous (n = 9) intensity cycling exercise training (900 kcal/week, three to five sessions per week, for 12 weeks). Carotid arterial stiffness was measured before and after training.
Carotid beta-stiffness index was significantly correlated with the duration of moderate and vigorous intensity physical activity (r = -0.25 and r = -0.22) even after adjustment for age, height, and mean BP. Carotid beta-stiffness index significantly decreased after moderate and vigorous intensity cycling training. There were no significant group differences in the magnitude of beta-stiffness index change even after adjustment for expected confounders (eg, baseline beta-stiffness index, height, body mass index, heart rate, and post-training body mass, body mass index, and mean BP).
These results suggest that both moderate and vigorous physical activities have favorable effects on central arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women.
"Long-term, moderate intensity exercise training has been shown to increase central artery distensibility in populations with reduced baseline central elasticity (Cameron and Dart 1994; Hayashi et al. 2005; Sugawara et al. 2006; Tanaka et al. 2000), while younger populations tended to have higher baseline central artery distensibility and showed less propensity for training related increases (Rakobowchuk et al. 2008; Tanaka et al. 2000). As well, previous research demonstrated that a sprint interval training program based on repeated Wingate exercise bouts improved popliteal artery function and structure (Rakobowchuk et al. 2008), skeletal muscle metabolic efficiency (Burgomaster et al. 2007, 2008), and aerobic fitness and performance (Burgomaster et al. 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Peripheral arterial distensibility is improved with sprint interval exercise training in young healthy participants (Rakobowchuk et al. in Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 295:R236-R242, 2008). To fully understand the mechanisms contributing to these training effects it is useful to examine the acute responses to sprint interval exercise. Following supine rest, nine healthy males completed either a single sprint interval (Wingate test) or a multiple sprint interval exercise session (4 Wingate tests each separated by 4.5 min). Following exercise, participants recovered for 60 min while central and peripheral arterial distensibility measurements were conducted at discrete time points, using applanation tonometry and ultrasound imaging and continuously, using central and peripheral pulsewave velocity (PWV). Single and multiple sprint interval exercise sessions caused similar changes in all variables. Heart rate was increased throughout recovery (p < 0.05), while central artery PWV was increased until 20 min of recovery (p < 0.05) and lower extremity PWV was decreased until ~45 min (p < 0.05). Distensibility of the superficial femoral artery showed a trend for a reduction at 2 min post-exercise (p = 0.06). These results indicate that extremely high intensity exercise transiently increases central artery stiffness, while metabolite induced vasodilation reduces peripheral stiffness in exercised limbs well into recovery.
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