Intermittent versus constant aerobic exercise in middle-aged males: acute effects on arterial stiffness and factors influencing the changes
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Both constant and intermittent acute aerobic exercises have been found to decrease arterial stiffness. However, direct comparisons of these two types of exercise are sparse. It is not known which type of exercise has the greatest effect.
We evaluated the haemodynamic responses in 15 males (age 48.5 ± 1.3 years; BMI 27.5 ± 0.8 kg m−2) following acute constant (CE) and intermittent cycling exercise (IE). Duration and heart rate were matched during both exercises (131.8 ± 3.2 bpm for CE and 132.0 ± 3.1 bpm for IE). Central and peripheral arterial stiffness was assessed through pulse wave velocity (PWV). Plasma concentrations of nitric oxide (NO), atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), blood lactate, noradrenaline, and adrenaline were measured before and after each exercise.
Central (+ 1.8 ± 7.4 and − 6.5 ± 6.8% for CE and IE) and upper limb PWV (+ 2.7 ± 6.2 and − 8 ± 4.6% for CE and IE) were not significantly altered although a small decrease (small effect size) was observed after IE. However, lower limb PWV significantly decreased after exercises (− 7.3 ± 5.7 and − 15.9 ± 4% after CE and IE), with a larger effect after IE.
Greater decrease in lower limb PWV occurred after IE despite greater heart rate. This may be due to the higher blood levels of lactate during IE, while NO, ANP, noradrenaline, and adrenaline levels remained not statistically different from CE. These results underlined the importance of lactate in triggering the post-exercise vascular response to exercise, as well as its regional characteristic.
KeywordsMiddle-age Pulse wave velocity Vasodilator Nitric oxide Aerobic exercises Acute exercise
Analysis of variance
Atrial natriuretic peptide
Diastolic blood pressure
High performance liquid chromatography
Heart rate variability
Mean blood pressure
Pulse transit time
Pulse wave velocity
Pulse wave velocity upper limb
Pulse wave velocity lower limb
Root mean square of the successive differences
Systolic blood pressure
Standard deviation of the r-r interval
Standard error of the mean
The authors would like to thank the subjects for their time and enthusiasm. We also thank to National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq-Brazil) for the support, C. Capitan for technical assistance and F. Ecarnot for translation and editorial assistance. The research was supported by grants from the Ministry for Higher education, Research Innovation and from Tomsk Polytechnic University Competitiveness Enhancement Program grant, Project no. ВИУ-ИСГТ-108/2017-TPU CEP-HSTI-108/2017 and by a Young Investigator Grant (from the Region of Franche-Comté, France).
Author contribution statement
Conception of the study: LM., AM and NT designed the study and carried out the experiment of the presented idea and developed the theory. DP, LM, AM and NT analyzed data, DP, LM, AM, MB, BG, JR, and NT interpreted results of experiments. DP prepared figures. DP, LM, NT drafted, edited and revised manuscript but all authors contributed to the final version of the manuscript, provided critical feedback.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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