Background: While aerobic exercise training may decrease arterial stiffness, the impact of combined aerobic and resistance training is unclear. Therefore, the aim of this study was to systematically review and quantify the effect of combined aerobic and resistance training on arterial stiffness, as determined by arterial pulse wave velocity (PWV), and compare it with aerobic training.
Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE and Web of Science were searched through November 2013 for randomized controlled trials evaluating the effect of aerobic or combined aerobic and resistance training on PWV. A meta-analysis was performed to determine the standardized mean difference (SMD) in PWV between exercise and control groups. Subgroup analyses were used to study potential moderating factors.
Results: Twenty-one randomized controlled trials comparing exercise and control groups (overall n=752), met the inclusion criteria. After data pooling, PWV was decreased in aerobic trained groups compared with controls (10 trials, SMD=-0.52, 95% CI= -0.76, -0.27; P<0.0001) but did not reach statistical significance in combined trained groups compared with controls (11 trials, SMD=-0.23, 95% CI=-0.50, 0.04; P=0.10). The effect in aerobic trained groups did not differ compared with combined trained groups (P=0.12). In addition, aerobic training resulted in significantly lower SMD in PWV compared with combined training in interventions including a higher volume of aerobic training or assessing carotid-femoral PWV.
Conclusions: These data suggest that combined aerobic and resistance training interventions may have reduced beneficial effects on arterial stiffness compared with control interventions, but do not appear to differ significantly with aerobic training alone.
Keywords: Aerobic exercise training; Arterial stiffness; Combined exercise training.
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