Combined exercise reduces arterial stiffness, blood pressure, and blood markers for cardiovascular risk in postmenopausal women with hypertension

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Abstract

Objective:

Postmenopausal women exhibit elevated brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), an indicator of arterial stiffness, which is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events and mortality. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of combined resistance and aerobic exercise training on baPWV, blood pressure (BP), and cardiovascular fitness in postmenopausal women with stage 1 hypertension.

Methods:

Twenty postmenopausal women (age, 75 ± 2 y; systolic BP, 152 ± 2 mm Hg, diastolic BP, 95 ± 3 mm Hg) were randomly assigned to a “no-exercise” (CON, n = 10) or combined exercise (EX, n = 10) group. The EX group performed resistance and aerobic exercise for 12 weeks, 3 times per week. Exercise intensity was increased gradually, from 40% to 70% of heart rate reserve, every 4 weeks. BaPWV, BP, blood nitrite/nitrate, endothelin-1 (ET-1), cardiovascular fitness, and body composition were measured before and after the 12-week intervention.

Results:

BP, baPWV (−1.2 ± 0.4 m/s), ET-1 (−2.7 ± 0.3 μmol/mL), nitrite/nitrate (+4.5 ± 0.5 μM), functional capacity, and body composition were significantly improved (P < 0.05) in the EX group after 12 weeks of training, but no changes were observed in the CON group.

Conclusions:

These findings indicate that 12 weeks of combined exercise training improves arterial stiffness, BP, ET-1, blood nitrite/nitrate, functional capacity, and body composition in postmenopausal women with stage 1 hypertension. Thus, this study provides evidence that combined exercise training is a useful therapeutic method to improve cardiovascular health which can reduce cardiovascular disease risk in postmenopausal women with hypertension.

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