Int J Sports Med 2007; 28(3): 197-203
DOI: 10.1055/s-2006-924290
Physiology & Biochemistry

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Arterial Stiffness and Baroreflex Sensitivity Following Bouts of Aerobic and Resistance Exercise

K. S. Heffernan1 , S. R. Collier2 , E. E. Kelly2 , S. Y. Jae1 , B. Fernhall1
  • 1Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Exercise and Cardiovascular Research Laboratory, Champaign, IL, USA
  • 2Exercise Science Department, Syracuse University, Human Performance Laboratory, Syracuse, NY, USA
Further Information

Publication History

Accepted after revision: April 28, 2006

Publication Date:
06 October 2006 (online)


We examined arterial stiffness, baroreflex sensitivity (BRS), and systolic arterial pressure (SAP) variability after an acute bout of aerobic exercise compared to resistance exercise. We hypothesized that arterial stiffness would be reduced after aerobic exercise, while it would be increased after resistance exercise, and these alterations would be associated with differential changes in BRS and SAP variability. Arterial stiffness, BRS, and SAP variability were assessed before and 20 min after a bout of aerobic exercise and resistance exercise in 13 male participants. Pulse wave velocity (PWV) was used to measure central (carotid-femoral) and peripheral (femoral-dorsalis pedis) arterial stiffness. BRS was derived via the sequence technique. Spectral decomposition of beat-to-beat SAP variability was used as an estimate of sympathetic vasomotor tone. A mode-by-time interaction (p < 0.001) was detected for central PWV, due to an increase in PWV (p < 0.05) following resistance exercise and a decrease in PWV following aerobic exercise (p < 0.05). A mode-by-time interaction was also detected for peripheral PWV (p < 0.05), due to a decrease in peripheral PWV following aerobic exercise (p < 0.05) with no change following resistance exercise. BRS was significantly lower following resistance compared with aerobic exercise (p < 0.004). SAP variability increased following resistance exercise (p < 0.05) but there was no interaction. In conclusion, aerobic exercise decreased both central and peripheral arterial stiffness, while resistance exercise significantly increased central arterial stiffness only. BRS was reduced after both bouts of exercise, but significantly greater reductions were seen following resistance exercise.


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M.S. Kevin S. Heffernan

Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
Exercise and Cardiovascular Research Laboratory
Rehabilitation Education Center

1207 S. Oak St.

Champaign, IL 61820


Fax: + 1 21 73 33 04 04