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Effects of aerobic exercise training and yoga on the baroreflex in healthy elderly persons

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Alan MurrayORCiD, Professor Gary Ford


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It is unclear whether the age-associated reduction in baroreflex sensitivity is modifiable by exercise training. The effects of aerobic exercise training and yoga, a non-aerobic control intervention, on the baroreflex of elderly persons was determined. Baroreflex sensitivity was quantified by the α-index, at high frequency (HF; 0.15-0.35 Hz, reflecting parasympathetic activity) and mid-frequency (MF; 0.05-0.15 Hz, reflecting sympathetic activity as well), derived from spectral and cross-spectral analysis of spontaneous fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure. Twenty-six (10 women) sedentary, healthy, normotensive elderly (mean 68 years, range 62-81 years) subjects were studied. Fourteen (4 women) of the sedentary elderly subjects completed 6 weeks of aerobic training, while the other 12 (6 women) subjects completed 6 weeks of yoga. Heart rate decreased following yoga (69 ± 8 vs. 61 ± 7 min-1 P < 0.05) but not aerobic training (66 ± 8 vs. 63 ± 9 min-1, P = 0.29). VO2 max increased by 11% following yoga (P < 0.01) and by 24% following aerobic training (P < 0.01). No significant change in α(MF) (6.5 ± 3.5 vs. 6.2 ± 3.0 ms mmHg-1, P = 0.69) or α(HF) (8.5 ± 4.7 vs. 8.9 ± 3.5 ms mmHg-1, P = 0.65) occurred after aerobic training. Following yoga, α(HF) (80 ± 3.6 vs. 11.5 ± 5.2 ms mmHg-1, P < 0.01) but not α(MF) (6.5 ± 3.0 vs. 7.6 ± 2.8 ms mmHg-1, P = 0.29) increased. Short-duration aerobic training does not modify the α- index at α(MF) or α(HF) in healthy normotensive elderly subjects, α(HF) but not α(MF) increased following yoga, suggesting that these parameters are measuring distinct aspects of the baroreflex that are separately modifiable.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bowman AJ, Clayton RH, Murray A, Reed JW, Subhan MMF, Ford GA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Clinical Investigation

Year: 1997

Volume: 27

Issue: 5

Pages: 443-449

Print publication date: 01/05/1997

ISSN (print): 0014-2972

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2362

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2362.1997.1340681.x

PubMed id: 9179553


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