, Volume 108, Issue 5, pp 845-875,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 27 Nov 2009

Impact of inactivity and exercise on the vasculature in humans

Abstract

The effects of inactivity and exercise training on established and novel cardiovascular risk factors are relatively modest and do not account for the impact of inactivity and exercise on vascular risk. We examine evidence that inactivity and exercise have direct effects on both vasculature function and structure in humans. Physical deconditioning is associated with enhanced vasoconstrictor tone and has profound and rapid effects on arterial remodelling in both large and smaller arteries. Evidence for an effect of deconditioning on vasodilator function is less consistent. Studies of the impact of exercise training suggest that both functional and structural remodelling adaptations occur and that the magnitude and time-course of these changes depends upon training duration and intensity and the vessel beds involved. Inactivity and exercise have direct “vascular deconditioning and conditioning” effects which likely modify cardiovascular risk.

Communicated by Susan Ward.