Most physical activities contribute to improvement of age-associated arterial stiffening resulting from reductions in arterial compliance or increases in arterial stiffness. From the viewpoint of exercise physiology, exercise can be divided into aerobic and resistance exercises. Although it is widely accepted that arterial compliance or stiffness is improved by habitual aerobic exercise, it has been reported that resistance training decreases arterial compliance and increases arterial stiffness. Interestingly, combined aerobic and resistance exercise did not affect arterial compliance, which suggests that simultaneously performed aerobic training may negate and prevent the reduction in arterial compliance induced by resistance exercise. It seems that not only moderate-to-high-intensity physical activity but also daily light physical activity, such as cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, or deskwork, decreases arterial stiffness. Arterial wall viscosity reflects dissipation of energy during conversion of cardiac pulsatile energy into arterial elastic energy, which is related to sympathoexcitation and intima-media thickening in the carotid artery. In addition, arterial wall viscosity increases with advancing age, and this age-associated increase in wall viscosity is attenuated in men with high cardiorespiratory fitness. A cross-sectional study found that endurance-trained athletes showed greater arterial wall viscosity compared with age-matched sedentary control men. In the future, the underlying physiological mechanisms and clinical implications of vascular function adaptations to various exercise training regimens warrant further investigation in people of various ages.
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