Postexercise vasodilatation reduces diastolic blood pressure responses to stress

Sheila G. West, Kimberly A. Brownley, Kathleen C. Light

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Regular physical exercise is known to reduce cardiovascular risk. We examined the effects of a single bout of moderate bicycle exercise on hemodynamic measures at rest and in response to the foot cold pressor (CP) and mental arithmetic (MA). Sedentary males and females (N = 32) were tested twice, following 20 minutes of moderate exercise (exercise day) versus 20 minutes of quiet rest (control day). Although resting blood pressure was no lower 20 minutes after exercise relative to the same time point on the control day, diastolic blood pressure responses to CP (p = .05) and MA (p = .06) were attenuated on the exercise day. Furthermore, recovery from moderate exercise versus control rest was also associated with reduced vascular resistance index (VRI) at rest and during exposure to both stressors (p's ≤ .02). VRI reductions were largest in subjects with elevated vascular tone on the control day and were accompanied by increases in heart rate throughout the postexercise period (p's ≤ .004) and higher cardiac index during exercise recovery and in response to CP (p's ≤.05). Thus, the cardiovascular benefit of exercise may in part be due to reduced VRI and attenuated cardiovascular responses to stress during the acute postexercise period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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