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J Physiol. 1994 Jan 15;474(2):353-60.

Active forearm blood flow adjustments to handgrip exercise in young and older healthy men.

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Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721.


1. Our purpose was to test the hypothesis that ageing impairs the active muscle hyperaemia consequent to dynamic exercise in humans. 2. Eleven young (19-29 years) and eleven older (60-74 years) healthy, non-obese men with similar chronic physical activity levels and forearm size performed two protocols of dynamic handgrip exercise: (a) brief (1 min), incremental loads to exhaustion, and (b) sustained (8 min), submaximal loads. Active forearm blood flow (FBF) was measured at rest and during a brief period of relaxation at the end of each minute of exercise. Arterial blood pressure was recorded to calculate active forearm vascular conductance (FVC). Sustained forearm ischaemia plus handgrip was used to elicit a peak forearm vasodilatatory response. 3. There were no differences in pre-exercise levels of any variable between the young and older men. During exercise, ratings of perceived effort, the peak workload attained, and the ability to sustain submaximal workloads were all similar for the two groups. 4. During brief exercise, both submaximal and peak levels of FBF were similar in the two groups; however, the peak increases in FVC were greater in the older men. During sustained exercise, FBF and FVC were not different in the two groups at the lowest loads, but the increases became relatively greater in the older men with increasing workloads. 5. Peak levels of FBF and FVC in response to the peak vasodilatatory stimulus were similar in the young and older men. 6. These findings fail to support the postulate that ageing results in impaired active muscle hyperaemia and vasodilatation during small-muscle dynamic exercise.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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