Effects of walking with blood flow restriction on limb venous compliance in elderly subjects

Clin Physiol Funct Imaging. 2011 Nov;31(6):472-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-097X.2011.01044.x. Epub 2011 Jul 28.


Venous compliance declines with age and improves with chronic endurance exercise. KAATSU, an exercise combined with blood flow restriction (BFR), is a unique training method for promoting muscle hypertrophy and strength gains by using low-intensity resistance exercises or walking. This method also induces pooling of venous blood in the legs. Therefore, we hypothesized that slow walking with BFR may affect limb venous compliance and examined the influence of 6 weeks of walking with BFR on venous compliance in older women. Sixteen women aged 59-78 years were partially randomized into either a slow walking with BFR group (n = 9, BFR walk group) or a non-exercising control group (n = 7, control group). The BFR walk group performed 20-min treadmill slow walking (67 m min(-1) ), 5 days per week for 6 weeks. Before (pre) and after (post) those 6 weeks, venous properties were assessed using strain gauge venous occlusion plethysmography. After 6 weeks, leg venous compliance increased significantly in the BFR walk group (pre: 0·0518 ± 0·0084, post: 0·0619 ± 0·0150 ml 100 ml(-1) mmHg(-1) , P<0·05), and maximal venous outflow (MVO) at 80 mmHg also increased significantly after the BFR walk group trained for 6 weeks (pre: 55·3 ± 15·6, post: 67·1 ± 18·9 ml 100 ml(-1) min(-1) , P<0·01), but no significant differences were observed in venous compliance and MVO in the control group. In addition, there was no significant change in arm compliance in the BFR walk group. In conclusion, this study provides the first evidence that 6 weeks of walking exercise with BFR may improve limb venous compliance in untrained elder female subjects.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Compliance
  • Constriction
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics*
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Lower Extremity / blood supply*
  • Middle Aged
  • Plethysmography
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Veins / physiology
  • Walking*