Haemodynamics of aerobic and resistance blood flow restriction exercise in young and older adults

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2015 Nov;115(11):2293-302. doi: 10.1007/s00421-015-3213-x. Epub 2015 Jul 4.


Purpose: Light-load blood flow restriction exercise (BFRE) may provide a novel training method to limit the effects of age-related muscle atrophy in older adults. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the haemodynamic response to resistance and aerobic BFRE between young adults (YA; n = 11; 22 ± 1 years) and older adults (OA; n = 13; 69 ± 1 years).

Method: On two occasions, participants completed BFRE or control exercise (CON). One occasion was leg press (LP; 20 % 1-RM) and the other was treadmill walking (TM; 4 km h(-1)). Haemodynamic responses (HR, Q, SV and BP) were recorded during baseline and exercise.

Result: At baseline, YA and OA were different for some haemodynamic parameters (e.g. BP, SV). The relative responses to BFRE were similar between YA and OA. Blood pressures increased more with BFRE, and also for LP over TM. Q increased similarly for BFRE and CON (in both LP and TM), but with elevated HR and reduced SV (TM only).

Conclusion: While BFR conferred slightly greater haemodynamic stress than CON, this was lower for walking than leg-press exercise. Given similar response magnitudes between YA and OA, these data support aerobic exercise being a more appropriate BFRE for prescription in older adults that may contribute to limiting the effects of age-related muscle atrophy.

Keywords: Ageing; BFR; Kaatsu; Resistance exercise; Vascular occlusion; Walking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology*
  • Resistance Training
  • Stroke Volume / physiology
  • Young Adult