Calf exercise-induced vasodilation is blunted in healthy older adults with increased walking performance fatigue

Joaquin U. Gonzales, Elizabeth Defferari, Amy Fisher, Jordan Shephard, David N. Proctor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Vascular aging as measured by central arterial stiffness contributes to slow walking speed in older adults, but the impact of age-related changes in peripheral vascular function on walking performance is unclear. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that calf muscle-specific vasodilator responses are associated with walking performance fatigue in healthy older adults. Forty-five older (60-78. yrs) adults performed a fast-paced 400. m walk test. Twelve of these adults exhibited fatigue as defined by slowing of walking speed (≥. 0.02. m/s) measured during the first and last 100. m segments of the 400. m test. Peak calf vascular conductance was measured following 10. min of arterial occlusion using strain-gauge plethysmography. Superficial femoral artery (SFA) vascular conductance response to graded plantar-flexion exercise was measured using Doppler ultrasound. No difference was found for peak calf vascular conductance between adults that slowed walking speed and those that maintained walking speed (p > 0.05); however, older adults that slowed walking speed had a lower SFA vascular conductance response to calf exercise (at highest workload: slowed group, 2.4 ± 0.9 vs. maintained group, 3.6 ± 0.9. ml/kg/min/mm. Hg; p<. 0.01). Moreover, the initial increase in SFA vascular conductance from rest to exercise was positively correlated with the change in walking speed for all adults (rho = 0.41, p= 0.005). In conclusion, these results suggest that calf exercise hemodynamics are associated with walking performance fatigability in older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Volume57
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2014

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Blood flow
  • Fatigue
  • Femoral artery
  • Vascular conductance
  • Walking

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