Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2020) 19, 460 - 468

Research article
Acute Effects of Winter Sports and Indoor Cycling on Arterial Stiffness
Josef Niebauer1, , Edith E. Müller1, Martin Schönfelder1,2, Christoph Schwarzl1,2, Barbara Mayr1, Julia Stöggl3, Thomas Stöggl3
Author Information
1 Institute of Sports Medicine, Prevention and Rehabilitation and Research Institute of Molecular Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, Austria
2 Chair of Exercise Biology, Technical University of Munich, Austria
3 Department of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Salzburg, Austria

Josef Niebauer
✉ MD, PhD, MBA University Institute of Sports Medicine, Prevention and Rehabilitation, Paracelsus Medical University, Lindhofstraße 20, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Email: j.niebauer@salk.at
Publish Date
Received: 18-10-2019
Accepted: 13-04-2020
Published (online): 13-08-2020
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ABSTRACT

Sedentary lifestyle predisposes to endothelial dysfunction, increased arterial stiffness and cardiovascular diseases, all of which can be positively modified by regular physical exercise training. A decrease in physical activity during winter months coincides with higher rates of cardiovascular events. In order to identify winter sports suitable to overcome this seasonal exercise deficit and thus contribute to cardiovascular health, it was the aim of this study to compare immediate effects of cross-country skiing (XCS) and alpine skiing (AS) on arterial stiffness as an alternative to indoor cycling (IC). After baseline assessment, eighteen healthy subjects performed one session of XCS, AS, and IC in randomized order. Pulse wave analysis was conducted (Mobil-o-Graph®) before and 10-min after exercise. Parameters of arterial stiffness and wave reflection were reduced after XCS and IC, but not after AS: central systolic blood pressure (IC: -8.0 ± 5.4 mmHg; p < 0.001), amplitude of the backward pressure wave (IC: -1.4 ± 2.7 mmHg; p < 0.05), reflection coefficient (XCS: -6.0 ± 7.8%; IC: -5.7 ± 8.1%; both p < 0.1), and pulse wave velocity (IC by -0.19 ± 0.27 m/s; p < 0.01). Higher exercise intensities correlated with greater reductions of arterial stiffness (all p < 0.05). Single sessions of XCS, IC but not AS led to comparable improvement in arterial stiffness, which was even more pronounced during higher exercise intensities. With regard to arterial stiffness, IC and XCS emerge as more effective to counteract the winter exercise deficit and thus the deleterious cardiovascular effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

Key words: Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, cycling, exercise intensity, physical activity, pulse wave analysis


           Key Points
  • In healthy middle-aged participants arterial stiffness improves after one session of cross-country skiing and indoor cycling but not alpine skiing
  • the higher the exercise intensity the greater the improvement in arterial stiffness induced
  • With regard to arterial stiffness, indoor cycling and cross-country skiing emerge as more effective to counteract the winter exercise deficit and thus the deleterious cardiovascular effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
 
 
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