Sports Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 6, pp 833–843 | Cite as

Effect of Aerobic Exercise Training on Arterial Stiffness in Obese Populations

A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
  • David Montero
  • Christian K. Roberts
  • Agnès Vinet
Systematic Review


Background and Objective

Controversy exists as to whether aerobic exercise training decreases arterial stiffness in obese subjects. The aim of this study was to systematically review and quantify the effect of aerobic exercise training on arterial stiffness in obese populations.


MEDLINE, Cochrane, Scopus, and Web of Science were searched up until May 2013 for trials assessing the effect of aerobic training interventions lasting 8 weeks or more on arterial stiffness in obese populations (body mass index ≥30 kg/m2). Standardized mean difference (SMD) in arterial stiffness parameters (augmentation index, β-stiffness, distensibility, pulse wave velocity, arterial waveforms) was calculated using a random-effects model. Subgroup and meta-regression analyses were used to study potential moderating factors.


Eight trials, comprising a total of 235 subjects with an age range of 49–70 years, met the inclusion criteria. Arterial stiffness was not significantly reduced by aerobic training (SMD −0.17; 95 % confidence interval (CI) −0.39, 0.06, P = 0.14). Similarly, post-intervention arterial stiffness was similar between the aerobic-trained and control obese groups (SMD 0.02; 95 % CI −0.28, 0.32, P = 0.88). Neither heterogeneity nor publication bias were detected in these analyses. In subgroup analyses, arterial stiffness was significantly reduced in aerobic-trained subgroups having below median values in post- minus pre-intervention systolic blood pressure (SBP) (P < 0.01), exercise intensity rating score (P < 0.01), and methodological quality score (P < 0.01). Equivalent results were obtained in meta-regression analyses.


Based on current published trials, arterial stiffness is generally not reduced in middle-aged and older obese populations in response to aerobic training. However, in studies using low-intensity aerobic training and yielding a decrease in SBP, arterial stiffness may decrease. Long-term studies are needed to assess the prognostic value of these findings.


Systolic Blood Pressure Arterial Stiffness Pulse Wave Velocity Aerobic Exercise Standardize Mean Difference 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. C.K.R. was supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (P50HL105188) during the writing of this paper. The authors have no potential conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.

Supplementary material

40279_2014_165_MOESM1_ESM.docx (31 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 31 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Montero
    • 1
  • Christian K. Roberts
    • 2
  • Agnès Vinet
    • 1
  1. 1.Avignon University, LAPEC EA4278AvignonFrance
  2. 2.Exercise and Metabolic Disease Research Laboratory, Translational Sciences Section, School of NursingUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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