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Title: The role of physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness and exercise on the autonomic and arterial systems of healthy adolescents
Author: Oliveira, Ricardo Santos
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 2965
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2018
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Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death worldwide and the atherosclerotic process that precedes CVD starts during childhood. Physical activity (PA), cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and exercise are well known as preventive strategies for CVD. One possible mechanism for such prevention is the role of PA, CRF and exercise on the arterial and autonomic systems. The aim of this thesis was to investigate using observational and experimental studies the role of PA, CRF and exercise on the autonomic and arterial systems of healthy adolescents. Chapter 4 systematically reviewed observational cross-sectional studies and provided level one evidence for a significant and positive association between resting parasympathetic function and moderate-to-vigorous PA in youth. Chapter 4 also indicated that gaps exist in the literature such as the associations between PA intensities, CRF and heart rate variability (HRV). These findings were furthered in Chapter 5 which showed that vigorous PA (VPA) and moderate PA (MPA) were positively related with HRV at rest and cardiac autonomic recovery following exercise in adolescents. In Chapter 6 a high-fat meal was used aiming to increase CVD risk in the postprandial state, and it was demonstrated that PA levels and CRF are not significantly associated with postprandial HRV and arterial stiffness in adolescents. Aiming to investigate possible associations between the vascular and autonomic system, measures of baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) were introduced. Chapter 7 showed that BRS and its autonomic and vascular components present a between-day coefficient of variation lower than 20% whilst within day coefficient of variations were lower than 34% in adolescents. In Chapter 8 acutely following high- and moderate-intensity interval exercise a decrease in blood pressure was observed concomitantly with decreases in BRS. This was mainly mediated by decreases in the autonomic modulation, and the duration of the decreases in blood pressure was higher following high-intensity interval exercise. Chapter 9 extended these findings by demonstrating that the changes in BRS following the ingestion of glucose was not altered by the high or moderate-intensity exercise performed before glucose ingestion. Chapter 10 showed that following four weeks of high-intensity exercise interval training no improvements were observed in BRS and its autonomic and vascular components at rest or acutely following exercise. Collectively, the present thesis contributes significantly to the literature by providing novel evidence in healthy adolescents on the role of PA intensities, CRF and exercise on the arterial and autonomic systems at rest, acutely following exercise and in the postprandial state. The results gathered in this thesis indicate potential of the autonomic and vascular function as targets of CVD risk reduction in youth.
Supervisor: Williams, Craig Anthony ; Barker, Alan Robert Sponsor: Coordenação de aperfeiçoamento de pessoal de nível superior (CAPES) ; Brazil
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cardiovascular health ; Youth ; Risk factors ; Exercise intensity