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Regular physical exercise improves cardiac autonomic and muscle vasodilatory responses to isometric exercise in healthy elderly

Authors Sarmento AO, Santos AC, Trombetta IC, Dantas MM, Oliveira Marques AC, Nascimento LS, Barbosa BT, Dos Santos MR, Andrade MA, Jaguaribe-Lima AM, Brasileiro-Santos MS

Received 16 September 2016

Accepted for publication 1 February 2017

Published 28 June 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 1021—1028


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

Adriana de Oliveira Sarmento,1–3 Amilton da Cruz Santos,1,4 Ivani Credidio Trombetta,2,5 Marciano Moacir Dantas,1 Ana Cristina Oliveira Marques,1,4 Leone Severino do Nascimento,1,4 Bruno Teixeira Barbosa,1,2 Marcelo Rodrigues Dos Santos,2 Maria do Amparo Andrade,3 Anna Myrna Jaguaribe-Lima,3,6 Maria do Socorro Brasileiro-Santos1,3,4

1Laboratory of Physical Training Studies Applied to Health, Department of Physical Education, Federal University of Paraiba, João Pessoa, Brazil; 2Unit of Cardiovascular Rehabilitation and Exercise Physiology – Heart Institute (InCor/HC-FMUSP), University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; 3Graduate Program in Physiotherapy, Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil; 4Associate Graduate Program in Physical Education UPE/UFPB, João Pessoa, Brazil; 5Graduate Program in Medicine, Universidade Nove de Julho (UNINOVE), São Paulo, Brazil; 6Department of Morphology and Animal Physiology, Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

Abstract: The objective of this study was to evaluate cardiac autonomic control and muscle vasodilation response during isometric exercise in sedentary and physically active older adults. Twenty healthy participants, 10 sedentary and 10 physically active older adults, were evaluated and paired by gender, age, and body mass index. Sympathetic and parasympathetic cardiac activity (spectral and symbolic heart rate analysis) and muscle blood flow (venous occlusion plethysmography) were measured for 10 minutes at rest (baseline) and during 3 minutes of isometric handgrip exercise at 30% of the maximum voluntary contraction (sympathetic excitatory maneuver). Variables were analyzed at baseline and during 3 minutes of isometric exercise. Cardiac autonomic parameters were analyzed by Wilcoxon and Mann–Whitney tests. Muscle vasodilatory response was analyzed by repeated-measures analysis of variance followed by Tukey’s post hoc test. Sedentary older adults had higher cardiac sympathetic activity compared to physically active older adult subjects at baseline (63.13±3.31 vs 50.45±3.55 nu, P=0.02). The variance (heart rate variability index) was increased in active older adults (1,438.64±448.90 vs 1,402.92±385.14 ms, P=0.02), and cardiac sympathetic activity (symbolic analysis) was increased in sedentary older adults (5,660.91±1,626.72 vs 4,381.35±1,852.87, P=0.03) during isometric handgrip exercise. Sedentary older adults showed higher cardiac sympathetic activity (spectral analysis) (71.29±4.40 vs 58.30±3.50 nu, P=0.03) and lower parasympathetic modulation (28.79±4.37 vs 41.77±3.47 nu, P=0.03) compared to physically active older adult subjects during isometric handgrip exercise. Regarding muscle vasodilation response, there was an increase in the skeletal muscle blood flow in the second (4.1±0.5 vs 3.7±0.4 mL/min per 100 mL, P=0.01) and third minute (4.4±0.4 vs 3.9±0.3 mL/min per 100 mL, P=0.03) of handgrip exercise in active older adults. The results indicate that regular physical activity improves neurovascular control of muscle blood flow and cardiac autonomic response during isometric handgrip exercise in healthy older adult subjects.

forearm blood flow, handgrip exercise, heart rate variability, sympathetic, parasympathetic, aging

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