Blood pressure (BP) is used to aid in appropriate clinical decision making and monitor safe exercise participation. A large interarm difference (IAD) in systolic BP (≥10 mm Hg between arms; IAD+) at rest is associated with premature morbidity and mortality. Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise is known to influence IAD.
The aims of the present study were to examine the relationship between resting IAD and exercise IAD (eIAD), and to characterize eIAD during a prolonged steady-state bout of aerobic exercise in IAD− (<10 mm Hg between arms at rest) and IAD+ individuals.
Sixty-two participants were studied on two separate occasions. On the initial visit, anthropometric measures and a V˙O2peak test were completed. On the subsequent visit, participants cycled at 50% V˙O2peak for 30 min. Heart rate and sequential bilateral BP were measured at rest; at 5, 10, 20, and 30 min of exercise; and during active recovery. Descriptive statistics are reported as mean and SEM. The value of eIAD in predicting IAD was determined using multiple linear regression analysis. Absolute values and the percent (%) change in eIAD, systolic BP (right and left arms), and heart rate during exercise were examined between both IAD− and IAD+ individuals using a repeated-measures ANOVA.
The incidence of IAD+ at rest was 19%. Twenty-five percent of the variation in resting IAD was predicted by eIAD (P < 0.05). There were significantly different absolute and relative eIAD, and SBP responses to exercise between IAD+ and IAD−.
There is a relationship between eIAD and resting IAD that warrants further attention. The eIAD response is inherently different between IAD− and IAD+ individuals. It may be important to measure BP bilaterally during aerobic exercise.