Supervised walking groups to increase physical activity in elderly women with and without hypertension: effect on pulse wave velocity

Hypertens Res. 2012 Oct;35(10):988-93. doi: 10.1038/hr.2012.85. Epub 2012 Jul 5.


To date, only a few studies have evaluated the effect of physical activity on PWVcf in the elderly. In the current study, 21 community-dwelling women, with a mean age of 68.19±5.72 years and a mean BMI of 28.63±4.69 kg m(-2), participated in moderate physical activity sessions for 1 h per day and 2 days each week under the supervision of a qualified physical education instructor for a total of 24 weeks. At the beginning of the study, at 3 months and at 6 months, the study participants' body weight, waist circumference, sagittal abdominal diameter (SAD) and body composition by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) were recorded along with the participants' Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly questionnaire. Total low-density-lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; triglycerides (TGs) and HbA1c; blood pressure (BP); and arterial stiffness, as determined by carotid-femoral and carotid-radial pulse wave velocity (PWVcf, PWVcr), were also assessed. During the follow-up period, the waist and SAD significantly decreased, whereas fat-free mass, BMI and weight did not decrease. A significant decline in TGs was observed. A significant decline in PWVcf, even after adjusting for mean arterial pressure, heart rate triglycerides and waist diameter changes, was observed. In a sub-analysis that examined the effect of physical activity separately in the hypertensive and normotensive subjects, we observed a significant decline in PWVcf in the hypertensive subjects and a nonsignificant tendency in the normotensive subjects. The data showed an association between light aerobic physical activity in the elderly and decreased PWVcf, even after adjusting for changes in systolic BP (SBP), TGs and central adiposity. These results suggest a beneficial effect of moderate physical activity on subclinical vascular damage, particularly in hypertensive subjects.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arterial Pressure
  • Blood Pressure
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulse Wave Analysis*
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Vascular Stiffness / physiology
  • Walking / physiology*


  • Triglycerides