Cardiac and vascular adaptations to exercise

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006 Nov;9(6):677-84. doi: 10.1097/01.mco.0000247473.49284.e3.


Purpose of review: To briefly review some recent studies of cardiac and vascular adaptation to acute exercise and exercise training.

Recent findings: Recent studies have suggested that prolonged strenuous bouts of exercise may be associated with transient impairment in systolic and diastolic function, referred to as 'cardiac fatigue'. Furthermore, some studies have reported increased circulating concentrations of cardiac troponins and brain natriuretic peptide following prolonged endurance exercise, suggestive of possible myocyte damage or impairment. Meanwhile, emerging studies of the effects of exercise training on diastolic function are somewhat conflicting; the discrepancies may relate to variability in study designs, indices selected to represent diastolic function or timing of measurements around training cycles. Finally, recent studies of vascular structure and function confirm established evidence for remodelling of large and small arteries and improvement in vascular function with exercise training.

Summary: Emerging evidence suggests that prolonged strenuous exercise may be associated with 'cardiac fatigue' or 'cardiac damage', although the clinical implications remain obscure. Vascular adaptations to training improve vasomotor function and induce arterial enlargement, favouring decreased atherothrombotic risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology