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Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2006 Oct;13(5):805-11.

Habitual aerobic exercise is associated with smaller femoral artery intima-media thickness with age in healthy men and women.

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  • 1Department of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA. kerrie.moreau@uchsc.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Femoral artery intima-media thickness (IMT), an independent predictor of atherosclerotic disease risk, increases with age in sedentary adults. It is not known whether regular aerobic exercise modulates femoral IMT with ageing.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Study 1: Femoral IMT was measured in 173 sedentary, moderately active, and endurance-trained young (20-39 years), middle-aged (40-59 years) and older (60-79 years) men. IMT increased with age in all activity groups (P<0.001). However, IMT was 20-27% smaller in age-matched, endurance-trained compared with sedentary men (P<0.001), and the age-associated increase in IMT was 33% smaller in endurance-trained compared with sedentary men (+0.32 versus +0.45 mm). There was a trend for the IMT to be smaller in moderately active compared with sedentary older men, and the age-associated increase in IMT was 37% smaller in moderately active than sedentary men (+0.28 mm). Study 2: Among 74 premenopausal and postmenopausal sedentary or endurance-trained women, IMT was higher (P<0.001) in postmenopausal compared with premenopausal women regardless of activity status. However, IMT was 15% smaller in endurance-trained compared with sedentary postmenopausal women (P<0.001), and the premenopausal to postmenopausal difference in IMT was approximately 45% smaller in endurance-trained compared with sedentary women (+0.13 versus +0.23 mm).

CONCLUSIONS:

Femoral IMT increases with age even in habitually exercising adults. However, the age-associated increase and absolute level of IMT are smaller in middle-aged and older adults who perform regular aerobic-endurance exercise, and may contribute to their lower incidence of atherosclerotic disease.

PMID:
17001222
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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