Exercise Training for the Modification of Arterial Stiffness and Wave Reflections

  • Julian W. Sacre
  • Bronwyn A. Kingwell


Clinically significant modulating effects of lifestyle factors on both age- and disease-related arterial stiffening – particularly those relating to habitual physical activity – are widely recognised. Consequently, exercise training may represent an important strategy in the non-pharmacological treatment of arterial stiffening and related complications – often apparent even at an early stage of the cardiometabolic disease continuum. Observational and interventional data relevant to this context are reviewed in the current chapter.

Arterial de-stiffening certainly appears achievable with aerobic exercise in young adults, and may even begin at a lower volume threshold than current exercise guidelines. However, the response in older individuals and those with cardiovascular risk factors appears highly variable. Where short-term training adaptations are evident (weeks to months), these probably reflect functional mechanisms related to blood pressure-lowering. Intrinsic changes in arterial wall structure are difficult to assess in humans, but may be possible when exercise is commenced in young adulthood and performed continually throughout the life course. Resistance training promotes arterial stiffening at high intensities, but may otherwise have a neutral or beneficial effect – particularly in combination with aerobic exercise.


Aerobic Exercise Aortic Stiffness Arteriosclerosis Exercise Pulse Wave Analysis Pulse Wave Velocity Resistance Training Vascular Stiffness 


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© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Metabolic and Vascular PhysiologyBaker IDI Heart and Diabetes InstituteMelbourneAustralia

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