The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Tasmania in Australia, included 26 women and 23 men who undertook moderate intensity resistance training for 16 weeks. The research was designed to evaluate the impact of strength training on arterial stiffness as compared to the effects from flexibility training or aerobic exercise. A community-based resistance training programme was used in the study.
The findings showed that there was a significant reduction in the augmentation index, a measure of arterial stiffness, in the female participants as a result of resistance training, when compared to aerobic exercise.
Arterial stiffness is an indicator of future cardiovascular events. While various studies have demonstrated improvements in indicators of arterial health as a result of flexible training, this is one of very few studies to investigate the relationship between resistance training and arterial stiffness and blood pressure in adults aged over 60.
In contrast to some studies which have suggested that strength training has a negative impact on arterial stiffness, the research shows that such exercise does not result in any harmful increase in arterial stiffness in healthy elderly participants. Moreover, it suggests that resistance training may actually lead to reduced arterial stiffness and central blood pressure in post-menopausal women.