Arterial stiffness and baroreflex sensitivity following bouts of aerobic and resistance exercise

Kevin S. Heffernan, S. R. Collier, E. E. Kelly, S. Y. Jae, B. Fernhall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-203
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Arterial stiffness
  • Baroreflex sensitivity
  • Blood pressure variability
  • Resistance exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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