Cardiovascular and Cognitive Adaptations Following Isometric Handgrip Exercise Training in Hypertensive Adults
Dempster, Kylie Samantha
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Isometric handgrip (IHG) exercise training is an effective method of blood pressure (BP) reduction in clinical and non-clinical populations. The efficacy of IHG on cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity (cvBRS) and systemic arterial stiffness (i.e. carotid-toe pulse wave velocity (ctPWV)) is less well understood, especially in hypertensive populations who demonstrate increased arterial stiffness and decreased BRS. Furthermore, hypertension is considered an accelerated model of cognitive decline, often attributed to the effects of increased BP and arterial stiffness. This study utilized IHG (n=8) and CON groups (n=4) to examine the effects of 8-weeks of IHG training or no IHG training on arterial stiffness, cvBRS, and cognitive function in hypertensive adults. Significant group differences in SBP and ctPWV change was observed (p<0.05) indicating that IHG training reduced SBP and systemic arterial stiffness compared to no IHG training. Moreover, although not significant (p>0.05), the IHG group demonstrated an ~53% increase in BRS. Lastly, a significant difference in Trail Making Test Part A (TMT-A) time (p<0.001) was observed in the IHG group, suggesting that IHG training improved motor, and visual control and speed. These findings suggest that IHG training can improve systemic arterial stiffness and possibly cvBRS in a hypertensive population, in addition to the new potential for improving specific aspects of cognitive function.