Effect of exercise training and weight loss on arterial stiffness and pulsatile hemodynamics

Gary L. Pierce, Kevin S. Heffernan, Kevin P. Davy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

1 Scopus citations


Central artery stiffness increases with sedentary aging in humans. Middle-aged and older (MA/O) adults without hypertension who perform habitual aerobic exercise, and subsequently maintain higher cardiorespiratory fitness, tend to have lower aortic and carotid artery stiffness compared with age-matched nonhypertensive MA/O adults. However, MA/O sedentary adults who begin a regular aerobic exercise program for 3–6 months demonstrate either small or limited improvements in aortic stiffness, whereas more robust decreases in carotid artery stiffness are observed with this same volume and duration of exercise. In contrast, MA/O adults with treated or treatment-naive hypertension demonstrate no changes in aortic stiffness and minimal changes in carotid stiffness after a short-term aerobic exercise training intervention, suggesting that central artery stiffness may be less responsive to aerobic exercise training among MA/O adults with hypertension. Some studies suggest that heavy volume/intensity resistance training may cause increases in carotid artery and aortic stiffness, whereas other studies using moderate volume/intensity resistance training consistent with national guidelines found no changes in carotid artery or aortic stiffness. Obesity is associated with accelerated carotid artery and aortic stiffening in children and throughout the adult age range. Weight gain and loss are generally associated with increases and decreases in aortic and carotid stiffness, respectively, typically correlated with changes in abdominal adiposity and/or blood pressure. Therefore, the focus of this chapter will discuss the evidence for the beneficial effects of aerobic exercise training, resistance exercise training, and weight loss on aortic and carotid artery stiffness in adults with aging and hypertension, and mechanisms will be discussed selectively when necessary to provide additional insight into clinical findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTextbook of Arterial Stiffness and Pulsatile Hemodynamics in Health and Disease
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780323913911
ISBN (Print)9780323916486
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Aging
  • Arterial compliance
  • Blood pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Muscular strength
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Pulse wave velocity
  • Resistance training
  • Wave reflection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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