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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.01119

Exercise and arterial stiffness in the elderly: A combined cross-sectional and randomized controlled trial (EXAMIN AGE)

  • 1Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Basel, Switzerland

Introduction: Arterial stiffness (AST) is a main determinant of cardiovascular (CV) mortality. Long-term physical activity (PA) is considered to decrease age-related progression of AST but effects of short-term exercise interventions on AST remain unclear.
Methods: In a combined cross-sectional and interventional study approach, we investigated the effects of long-term PA and short-term high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on AST in an older population. 147 older individuals (mean age 59±7 years) were assigned to three groups according to their PA and CV risk profile and compared: healthy active (HA, n=35), healthy sedentary (HS, n=33) and sedentary at risk (SR, n=79). In addition, SR were randomized to either 12 weeks of HIIT or standard recommendations. Pulse wave velocity (PWV) was measured by applanation tonometry. Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) was performed by symptom-limited spiroergometry to determine maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max).
Results: Higher CRF was associated with lower PWV (p<0.001) and VO2max explained 18% of PWV variance. PWV was higher in SR (8.2±1.4 m/s) compared to HS (7.5±1.6 m/s) and HA (7.0±1.1 m/s; p<0.001). 12 weeks of HIIT did not change PWV in SR. HIIT-induced reduction in systolic BP was associated with a reduction in PWV (p<0.05).
Discussion: SR show higher PWV compared to HS and long-term PA is associated with lower PWV. Reduction of AST following short-term HIIT seems to depend on a concomitant decrease in blood pressure. Our study puts into perspective the effects of long- and short-term exercise on arterial wall integrity as treatment options for CV prevention in an older population.
Clinical Trial Registration: NCT02796976

Keywords: Ageing, cardiovascular risk, high intensity interval training (HIIT), pulse wave velocity, Physical activit

Received: 24 May 2019; Accepted: 13 Aug 2019.

Edited by:

Luis A. Martinez-Lemus, University of Missouri, United States

Reviewed by:

Jaume Padilla, University of Missouri, United States
William F. Jackson, Michigan State University, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Deiseroth, Streese, Köchli, Wüst, Infanger, Schmidt-Trucksäss and Hanssen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Henner Hanssen, Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Basel, Basel, 4052, Switzerland,