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Open AccessArticle

Can Active Aerobic Exercise Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Prehypertensive Elderly Women by Improving HDL Cholesterol and Inflammatory Markers?

Department of Physical Education, Keimyung University, Daegu 42601, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5910;
Received: 12 June 2020 / Revised: 11 August 2020 / Accepted: 12 August 2020 / Published: 14 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercise Medicine in Health and Disease)
This study aims to verify the efficacy of exercise programs designed to prevent and treat hypertension-induced cardiovascular disease (CVD) by analyzing the effects of a 6-month active aerobic exercise program, administered to prehypertensive elderly women, on reducing the risk of developing CVD by enhancing their physical fitness level and improving the detailed markers of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and inflammatory markers. We assigned the elderly women (≥65 years) recruited into normal blood pressure (120–129/80–84; NBP, n = 18) and high-normal blood pressure (130–139/85–89; HNBP, n = 12) groups according to the European guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension. The exercise program was made up of combined workouts of elastic band resistance exercise and aerobics with dance music. The program took place three times a week for six months, with each session lasting 60 min. We measured pre- and post-intervention body composition, blood pressure, physical fitness level, blood lipids profile, HDL-C, SAA, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-4, IL-15, CRP, and HSP70 and calculated the Framingham risk scores for comparison. A significant post-intervention reduction in the mean systolic blood pressure (SBP) was observed in the HNBP group (p < 0.001), with significant increase in HDL-C (p < 0.01) and significant decrease in serum amyloid A (SAA) concentration (p < 0.01). A significant improvement in physical fitness factors such as physical efficiency index (PEI) was also observed in the HNBP group (p < 0.05). The post-intervention TNF-α, IL-6, and SAA concentrations were more significantly lower in the HNBP than in the NBP group (p < 0.05). Compared to the baseline values, a significant decrease in SAA concentration (p < 0.01) and significant increase in HSP70 concentration (p < 0.001) were observed in the HNBP group. The HNBP group’s 10-year CVD risk was also significantly reduced (p < 0.05). The pre–post differences in SBP and DBP were significantly correlated with those in the anti-inflammatory markers IL-4 and IL-15 (p < 0.01). In conclusion, the 6-month active aerobic exercise program of moderate intensity administered to prehypertensive elderly women (≥65 years) had the effect of reducing the 10-year CVD risk through a substantial reduction in SBP, overall physical fitness improvement, increase in HDL-C, decrease in SAA concentration, and substantial decrease in inflammatory biomarkers. It was also confirmed that an increase in anti-inflammatory markers, which showed a small range of increase with respect to the decrease in blood pressure, may have a major effect. View Full-Text
Keywords: hypertension; exercise; inflammation; cardiovascular disease; physical fitness hypertension; exercise; inflammation; cardiovascular disease; physical fitness
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Ahn, N.; Kim, K. Can Active Aerobic Exercise Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Prehypertensive Elderly Women by Improving HDL Cholesterol and Inflammatory Markers? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 5910.

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