Adults with obesity are at an increased risk of incident hypertension. Regular aerobic exercise is recommended for the prevention and treatment of hypertension, but whether young adults with obesity exhibit impaired postexercise blood pressure (BP) and vascular responses remains unclear.
We tested the hypothesis that young adults with obesity exhibit attenuated postexercise hypotension (PEH) and postexercise peripheral vasodilation compared with young adults without obesity.
Thirty-six normotensive adults without and with obesity (11 men and 7 women per group) underwent measurements of brachial and central BP, and leg blood flow (Doppler ultrasound) at baseline and at 30, 60, and 90 min after acute 1-h moderate-intensity cycling. Leg vascular conductance (LVC) was calculated as flow/mean arterial pressure.
Both groups exhibited similar brachial and central PEH (peak change from baseline, −2 and −4 mm Hg for brachial and central systolic BPs, respectively, for both groups; time effect, P < 0.05). Both groups also exhibited postexercise peripheral vasodilation, assessed via LVC (time effect, P < 0.05), but its overall magnitude was smaller in young adults with obesity (LVC change from baseline, +47% ± 37%, +29% ± 36%, and +20% ± 29%) compared with young adults without obesity (LVC change from baseline, +88% ± 58%, +59% ± 54%, and +42% ± 51%; group effect, P < 0.05).
Although obesity did not impair PEH after acute moderate-intensity exercise, young adults with obesity exhibited smaller postexercise peripheral vasodilation compared with young adults without obesity. Collectively, these findings have identified evidence for obesity-induced alterations in the peripheral vasculature after exercise.