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It is currently unknown whether differences in physical fitness in older, nonexercising individuals affect cardiovascular risk profile and vascular function. To examine this, 40 healthy older individuals (age 69 ± 4 years) who were classified as nonexercising for the past 5-10 years were allocated to a lower physical fitness (LF; VO2max 20.7 ± 2.4 mlO2/min/kg) or higher physical fitness group (HF; VO2max 29.1 ± 2.8 mlO2/min/kg, p < .001). Cardiovascular risk profile was calculated using the Lifetime Risk Score (LRS). Vascular function was examined using the gold standard venous occlusion plethysmography to assess blood flow changes in response to intra-arterial infusion of acetylcholine, sodium nitroprusside, and L-NNMA. Daily life activity level of the HF group was higher compared with the LF group (p = .04). LRS was higher (p < .001) and blood flow ratio response to acetylcholine was lower (p = .04) in the LF group. This study shows that a higher physical fitness level is associated with better cardiovascular health and vascular function in nonexercising older individuals.

Oudegeest-Sander is with the Department of Physiology and Department of Geriatric Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Thijssen is with the Department of Physiology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands; and the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Science, Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom. Smits is with the Department of Pharmacology- Toxicology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Van Dijk is with the Department of Cardiology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Olde Rikkert is with the Department of Geriatric Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Hopman is with the Department of Physiology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Address author correspondence to Madelijn H. Oudegeest-Sander at madelijn.oudegeest-sander@radboudumc.nl.