Although swimming is one of the most popular, most practiced, and most recommended forms of physical activity, little information is available regarding the influence of regular swimming on vascular disease risks. Using a cross-sectional study design, key measurements of vascular function were performed in middle-aged and older swimmers, runners, and sedentary controls. There were no group differences in age, height, dietary intake, and fasting plasma concentrations of glucose, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Runners and swimmers were not different in their weekly training volume. Brachial systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure were higher (p <0.05) in swimmers than in sedentary controls and runners. Runners and swimmers had lower (p <0.05) carotid systolic blood pressure and carotid pulse pressure than sedentary controls. Carotid arterial compliance was higher (p <0.05) and β-stiffness index was lower (p <0.05) in runners and swimmers than in sedentary controls. There were no significant group differences between runners and swimmers. Cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity was greater (p <0.05) in runners than in sedentary controls and swimmers and baroreflex sensitivity tended to be higher in swimmers than in sedentary controls (p = 0.07). Brachial artery flow-mediated dilation was significant greater (p <0.05) in runners compared with sedentary controls and swimmers. In conclusion, our present findings are consistent with the notion that habitual swimming exercise may be an effective endurance exercise for preventing loss in central arterial compliance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine