The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of resistance training on resting blood pressure and heart rate variability in elderly postmenopausal women. 29 untrained, non-hypertensive elderly women were randomly assigned to 2 groups: an intervention group (n=15, 65.5±5.0 years, 57.3±6.5 kg, 156.7±5.1 cm) that underwent a supervised resistance training program (8 exercises, 2 sets, 10-15 repetitions, 3 times/week) or a control group (n=14, 66.2±4.1 years, 61.1±11.7 kg, 157.5±7.1 cm) that participated in a supervised stretching program (25-30 min/session, 2 times/week). Resting auscultatory blood pressure, heart rate variability, evaluated from short recordings in a seated position, and maximal dynamic strength (1-RM test) were measured at baseline and after 12 weeks. A group x time ANOVA revealed that muscular strength increased significantly in the resistance training group (+ 10.2% for bench press and +12.7% for leg extension, P<0.05). Systolic blood pressure was reduced significantly in the resistance training group from pre- to post-intervention period (- 5 mmHg; P<0.05), while no significant effect was noted for diastolic blood pressure and heart rate variability indexes (P>0.05). None of these variables changed in the control group throughout the study. In conclusion, a supervised resistance training program improved muscular strength and reduced systolic blood pressure without affecting diastolic blood pressure and heart rate variability in elderly postmenopausal women.
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.