The effect of resistance training on vascular function in older adults
University of New Brunswick
INTRODUCTION: This study examined the effect of resistance training on exercise induced hyperemia in the brachial and popliteal arteries in order to evaluate this exercise modality as a method to improve endothelial function post-exercise and rest. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in developed countries. What is less appreciated, perhaps, is that the great majority of CVD is associated with alterations to the arterial system. The effect of aging on CVD is illustrated simply, but powerfully, by the observation that the risk of CVD increases progressively with age. Given the current and projected increases in the number of older adults in North America, we face the possibility of a ‘new wave’ of CVD in the near future and an associated increase in healthcare burden. Determining how arteries change with respect to age and increased risk of CVD, the mechanisms by which these alterations are mediated, integrated with strategies for the prevention and treatment of arterial aging are, therefore, among our highest biomedical priorities. METHODS: Subjects were recruited to participate in a six-week resistance training program, 3x/wk. The conventional resistance training group used a duty cycle of one second concentric, and one second eccentric. The slow eccentric contraction group will use a duty cycle of one second concentric, and five seconds eccentric. Vascular function was evaluated by a series of isometric and isotonic tests, using Laser Doppler ultrasonography. RESULTS: Resistance training revealed decreases in resting pulsatility index and systolic peak blood pressure; however, it did not matter which group each participant was assigned, as there was no main effect differences between groups. CONCLUSION: Resistance training is proposed as a safe and useful exercise method for muscular hypertrophy and strength gain, but also for increasing peripheral blood flow and vascular conductance as an additional effect. Expanding this research to cover investigation in patient groups is recommended for future consideration.