Aortic stiffness, central pulse pressure and cognitive function following acute resistance exercise

Samuel Palmiere, Marcus Wade, Jacob P. DeBlois, Wesley K. Lefferts, Kevin S Heffernan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: While resistance exercise (RE) is known to be beneficial for overall health, one bout of RE acutely increases aortic stiffness and pulse pressure (PP). Increases in aortic stiffness and PP in a setting of aging has been shown to detrimentally impact cognitive function. This study examined whether increased aortic stiffness and PP from an acute bout of RE is associated with cognitive function. Methods: Thirty-five participants (21 ± 2 years) underwent cognitive testing before and after either an acute bout of RE or a non-exercise time-control condition. Cognitive function was assessed as reaction time and accuracy during memory recognition, attention (Flanker) and working memory (N-back) tasks. Aortic stiffness and PP were measured via pulse wave velocity (PWV) and pulse wave analysis, respectively, using a brachial oscillometric device. Results: There were significant increases in aortic PWV and aortic PP following RE (p < 0.05) with no change in PWV or PP following the non-exercise control condition (p > 0.05). There was no change in accuracy metrics (% hits) across conditions for any cognitive task (p > 0.05). There was a condition-by-time interaction for reaction time for the memory task (p < 0.05) driven by a significant decrease in reaction times following RE (p < 0.05) with no change in reaction time following the non-exercise control (p > 0.05). Conclusion: Functional increases in aortic stiffness and pulse pressure following acute RE occur in the absence of detrimental changes in cognitive function in young, healthy adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2203-2211
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018



  • Arterial stiffness
  • Blood pressure
  • Cognitive function
  • Exercise
  • Pulse pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)

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