Inverse Relationship Between Physical Activity and Arterial Stiffness in Adults With Hypertension

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Physical activity has beneficial effects on arterial stiffness among healthy adults. There is a lack of data on this relationship in adults with hypertension. The majority of studies which have examined physical activity and arterial stiffness have used subjective measures of activity. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between objectively measured habitual physical activity and arterial stiffness in individuals with newly diagnosed essential hypertension.


Adults attending an outpatient hypertension clinic were recruited into this cross sectional study. Physical activity was measured using a triaxial accelerometer. Pulse wave velocity (PWV) and augmentation index (AIx) were measured using applanation tonometry. Participant’s full lipid profile and glucose were determined through the collection of a fasting blood sample.


Fifty-three adults [51(14) years, 26 male] participated, 16 of whom had the metabolic syndrome. Inactivity was positively correlated with PWV (r = .53, P < .001) and AIx (r = .48, P < .001). There were significant inverse associations between habitual physical activity of all intensities and both AIx and PWV. In stepwise regression, after adjusting for potential confounders, physical activity was a significant predictor of AIx and PWV.


Habitual physical activity of all intensities is associated with reduced arterial stiffness among adults with hypertension.

O’Donovan, Gormley, and Hussey are with the School of Medicine, Discipline of Physiotherapy, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Lithander, Raftery, and Mahmud are with the Dept of Clinical Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Lithander is also with the Dept of Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Canberra, Australia. Mahmud is also with the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland.