Objective: Some individuals with cardiovascular risk are unable to achieve even the lower internationally recommended level of physical activity (PA). We aimed to study the impact of a lower-than-advised level of PA on small artery vascular function and oxidative stress in overweight and obese postmenopausal women.
Methods: Forty-seven overweight and obese postmenopausal women completed a 4-month program of 1-hour low-intensity PA for 2 days per week. Before and after the intervention, PA level (metabolic equivalent tasks/h/wk), endogenous antioxidant status (superoxide dismutase and erythrocyte lysate and glutathione peroxidase erythrocyte lysate concentrations, superoxide dismutase plasma and glutathione peroxidase plasma [GPXa] activities, and oxidized low-density lipoprotein), asymmetrical dimethylarginine concentrations, endothelial function by small artery reactive hyperemia index (saRHI), and resting heart rate (RHR) were assessed.
Results: After the intervention, a significant increase in GPXa and decreases in asymmetrical dimethylarginine concentrations and RHR (P < 0.001 for all) were observed. Increases in PA were positively associated with increases in saRHI (r = 0.330, P = 0.027) and GPXa (r = 0.299, P = 0.05) and a decrease in RHR (r = −0.297, P = 0.047). Multivariate analyses showed that the independent predictors of saRHI improvement were an increase in PA (β = 2.63; 95% CI, 1.24-4.19; P = 0.019), a decrease in RHR (β = 1.96; 95% CI, 1.01-5.03; P = 0.048), and an increase in GPXa (β = 2.64; 95% CI, 1.18-5.08; P = 0.021).
Conclusions: Even low-intensity PA improves antioxidant capacity, RHR, and saRHI in postmenopausal women. Advising postmenopausal women to increase their PA at any level seems warranted based on our preliminary and hypothesis-generating data.
From the 1 Vascular Medicine and Metabolism Unit and Research Unit on Lipids and Atherosclerosis, Sant Joan University Hospital, Institut d’Investigació Sanitària Pere Virgili, Rovira i Virgili University, Reus, Spain; 2Spanish Biomedical Research Network in Diabetes and Associated Metabolic Disorders (CIBERDEM), Barcelona, Spain; 3Reus Esport i Lleure, Ajuntament de Reus, Spain; 4Atención Primaria, Institut Català de la Salut, Tarragona, Spain; and 5Institut d’Investigació en Atenció Primària Jordi Gol, Catalunya, Spain.
Received October 5, 2012; revised and accepted December 27, 2012.
J.M., R.F., N.P., J.B., and L.M. designed the study. J.M., C.B., D.I., D.A., A.V., R.F., and N.P. conducted research. A.C. and J.G. performed biochemical analyses. J.M., R.F., J.B., and L.M. performed statistical tests and wrote the final manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.
Funding/support: This study was supported by grants from the Spanish Atherosclerosis Society (to J.M.; Beca SEA/FEA 2010 para investigación clínico-epidemiológica. Aspectos clínico-epidemiológicos de la arteriosclerosis y sus factores de riesgo). Spanish Biomedical Research Network in Diabetes and Associated Metabolic Disorders (CIBERDEM) is an initiative of Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain.
Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.
Address correspondence to: Jordi Merino, MD, Vascular Medicine and Metabolism Unit and Research Unit on Lipids and Atherosclerosis, Sant Joan University Hospital, Institut d’Investigació Sanitària Pere Virgili, Rovira i Virgili University, 43201 Reus, Spain. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org