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Blood pressure reactivity to mental stress is attenuated following resistance exercise in older hypertensive women

Authors Gauche R, Lima RM, Myers J, Gadelha AB, Neri SGR, Forjaz CLM, Vianna LC

Received 20 December 2016

Accepted for publication 3 March 2017

Published 15 May 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 793—803

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S130787

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Akshita Wason

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker


Rafael Gauche,1 Ricardo M Lima,1,2 Jonathan Myers,2 André B Gadelha,1 Silvia GR Neri,1 Claudia LM Forjaz,3 Lauro C Vianna1

1Faculty of Physical Education, University of Brasília, Brasília, Brazil; 2Cardiology Division, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System and Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, USA; 3School of Physical Education and Sport, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil


Purpose: This study aimed to investigate the effects of resistance exercise (RE) on autonomic control and blood pressure (BP) reactivity during mental stress (MS) in treated older hypertensive women.
Methods: Ten older hypertensive women (age =71.1±5.5 years; body mass index =24.2±3.9; mean BP [MBP] =85.4±3.5) underwent a protocol consisting of BP and heart rate variability (HRV) output assessments at baseline and during MS, and these measurements were taken before and 60 minutes after two bouts of RE (traditional and circuit). MS was induced through a computerized 3-minute Stroop color–word test before and 1 hour after each exercise session; BP was measured every minute during MS, and HRV was monitored as a measure of cardiac autonomic control.
Results: A significant effect of time on systolic BP (∆pre =17.4±12.8 versus ∆post =12.5±9.6; P=0.01), diastolic BP (∆pre =13.7±7.1 versus ∆post =8.8±4.5; P=0.01), and MBP (∆pre =14.0±7.7 versus ∆post =9.3±5.4; P<0.01) after RE was observed, with no differences between the two sessions. In addition, a significant effect of time on log-normalized low-frequency component of HRV (ms2; 5.3±0.8 pre-exercise MS versus 4.8±1.0 baseline value; P=0.023) was also observed, showing a significant change from baseline to MS before RE, but not after RE sessions. These results may be related to a lessened RE-mediated cardiac sympathetic activity during MS.
Conclusion: RE is an effective tool to reduce BP reactivity to MS, which could therefore be associated with an acute reduction in cardiovascular risk. This result presents relevant clinical implications, combining previous evidence that recommends this exercise modality as an important component of an exercise program designed for the older and hypertensive subjects.

Keywords: resistance training, psychological stress, aging, hypertension, autonomic nervous system

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