Exercise training improves arterial compliance due to increases in blood flow to skeletal muscle during repeated bouts of daily exercise. The effect of resuming training on arterial stiffness in previously well-trained subjects is poorly documented. Hence, the purpose of this study was to determine the vascular effects induced by return to exercise in highly trained cyclists. Pulse wave velocity (PWV), an index of arterial stiffness, was assessed at rest and during constant moderate-intensity cycle exercises before and after 16 weeks of endurance training. The impact of daily exercise on the concentration of nitric oxide (NO) measured as nitrate in plasma was examined at rest and during maximal exercise before and after the training period. At rest, PWV was significantly lower in the subjects after a training session (6.4 ± 0.4 vs. 8.1 ± 0.4 m·s-1, p < 0.05). During constant exercise, PWV was significantly and positively correlated with increases in blood pressure. The increased PWV induced by exercise was, however, significantly lower after training (9.8 ± 0.6 vs. 11.4 ± 0.6 m·s -1, p < 0.05). After the training program, nitrate plasma levels at rest were higher. During the maximal test, the plasma nitrate concentration was increased in the subjects studied before the training period, but not after. These results show that resumption of chronic endurance training rapidly induces adaptive changes in arterial stiffness and NO release that may contribute to improved physical fitness in athletes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Physiology (medical)