Background: We examined the relationships of endurance and strength exercise training and the adolescent duration of training to arterial stiffness in young adult men. We hypothesized that young adults participating in endurance sports would have decreased arterial stiffness, whereas those in strength-based sports would have increased arterial stiffness. In addition, we predicted that these trends would be more pronounced with an increase in the duration of sport participation. Methods: Subjects were male endurance-trained men with short (current age, 20 years; age at beginning of competitive sport, 15 years; sport careers, 5 years; n = 7, S-ET) and long (current age, 20 years; age at beginning of competitive sport, 12 years; sport careers, 8 years; n = 7, L-ET) competitive sport careers, strength-trained men with short (current age, 20 years; age at beginning of competitive sport, 16 years; sport careers, 4 years; n = 7, S-ST) and long (current age, 22 years; age at beginning of competitive sport, 15 years; sport careers, 7 years; n = 7, L-ST) careers, and sedentary control men (aged, 20 years; n = 7, C). Results: The exercise training was associated with aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV), a traditional index of arterial stiffness, and the associations were statistically independent of blood pressure (BP). Aortic PWV was lower in L-ET than C and ST. Aortic PWV in L-ST was greater than that of C. The associations of exercise training with systemic arterial compliance (SAC), which inversely correlates with arterial stiffness, were also positive and BP independent. The SAC was greater in the ET groups compared with C and ST groups. The SAC in L-ST was lower than in C. Conclusions: These results suggest that changes in arterial stiffness associated with different training programs appear in young adults as well as in older humans, and these changes may begin in adolescence.
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