Our study examined the relationship between habitual high levels of vigorous physical activity on large and small artery compliance via radial artery pulse wave analysis. Eighty-three healthy men (n = 44) and women (n = 39), aged 18–78 years, were recruited as habitually less active (light-to-moderate exercise ≤3 times/wk) or habitually highly active (vigorous exercise ≥5 times/wk). A multivariate analysis of variance revealed a significant interaction of age and activity level; habitual vigorous activity was associated with greater compliance in large and small arteries in older adults (40–78 years) and younger adults (18–22 years). In the large and small arteries, we observed an age-associated decrease in arterial compliance (aged ≥ 40 years), though it appears to be less pronounced in the large artery among habitually highly active subjects. This study suggests that aging may be associated with declines in large and small artery compliance that can be attenuated by habitual vigorous activity.
- pulse wave analysis