Purpose: Postexercise hypotension may be the result of an impaired vasoconstrictor response. This hypothesis was investigated by examining the central and peripheral hemodynamic responses during supine and seated recovery after maximal upright exercise.
Methods: After supine or seated baseline measurements, seven normotensive male volunteers completed a graded upright cycling protocol to volitional exhaustion. This was immediately followed by either supine or seated recovery. Measurements of pulsatile arterial blood pressure and central and peripheral hemodynamic variables recorded 30 min before exercise were compared with those taken throughout 60 min of recovery.
Results: Compared with baseline, mean arterial pressure (MAP) was reduced after exercise (P < 0.05) although the degree of change was not different between the supine (-9 +/- 4 mm Hg) and seated positions (-6 +/- 2 mm Hg). This change in MAP was associated with a reduction in diastolic blood pressure (DBP) (P < 0.05) and arterial pulse pressure (APP) (P < 0.01) for the supine and seated positions, respectively. The reduction in APP during seated recovery was accompanied by a decline in stroke volume (SV) (P < 0.05), not seen in the supine position, that limited the contribution of cardiac output (CO) to the maintenance of MAP. This effect of seated recovery was compensated by greater systemic (SVR) and regional vascular resistances in the forearm (FVR) and the forearm skin (SkVRA). There was also evidence of an augmented return of FVR and SkVRA to resting levels in the seated position after exercise.
Conclusion: The lower peripheral resistance in the supine compared with seated recovery position suggests there is potential for greater vasoconstriction, although this is not evoked to increase blood pressure. This further suggests that the arterial baroreceptor reflex is reset to a lower operating pressure after exercise.