The augmentation index (AIx, a marker of wave reflection) is reduced and peripheral artery vasodilation increased following acute stretching exercise. We examined the effects of stretching training (ST) on arterial function, blood pressure (BP) and sympathetic vasomotor modulation. Twenty-eight obese postmenopausal women (57±1 years) were randomized to a ST (n=14) or no-exercise control (CON) group (n=14). ST included stretching exercises 3 days week-1 for 8 weeks. Brachial (b) and aortic (a) systolic BP (SBP), diastolic BP (DBP), mean arterial pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR), brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), carotid-femoral PWV (aPWV), femoral-ankle PWV (faPWV), AIx, low-frequency component of SBP (LFSBP) and sit/reach score (SRS) were measured before and after interventions. There were significant decreases in bSBP (P<0.05), aSBP (P<0.01), aDBP (P<0.05), aMAP (P<0.01), aAIx (P<0.05) and LFSBP (P<0.05) after ST compared with CON. SRS significantly (P<0.01) increased after ST but not after CON. There were no significant effects (P>0.05) on HR, baPWV, aPWV and faPWV after ST or CON. Eight weeks of ST decreases BP, AIx and LFSBP in obese postmenopausal women. Our findings show that ST reduces peripheral and central BP, wave reflection magnitude and vascular sympathetic activity in obese postmenopausal women with prehypertension and hypertension.
- augmentation index
- blood pressure
- vascular sympathetic activity