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  1. Fleenor, Bradley S. PhD
  2. Carlini, Nicholas A. MS
  3. Kaminsky, Leonard A. PhD
  4. Whaley, Mitchell H. PhD
  5. Peterman, James E. PhD
  6. Harber, Matthew P. PhD


Background: Healthy vascular aging (HVA) and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) are each independently associated with lower cardiovascular disease-related mortality. It is unknown, however, whether the CRF-related reductions in cardiovascular disease risk are related to HVA. We hypothesized that HVA would be associated with higher CRF in men and women from the Ball State Adult Fitness Longitudinal Lifestyle STudy (BALL ST).


Methods: Apparently healthy men and women >=50 yr of age from the BALL ST cohort (n = 101) who underwent a maximal cardiopulmonary exercise test to assess CRF (V[spacing dot above]O2peak) were included in the study. Participants were divided into either HVA, defined as brachial systolic blood pressure <140/90 mm Hg without taking medications and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity <7.6 m/sec, or no HVA for subjects with SBP >140/90 mm Hg and/or PWV >7.6 m/sec.


Results: Participants with HVA had a higher age- and sex-adjusted CRF percentile (62 +/- 5 vs 47 +/- 3, P < .05), with women having a greater prevalence of HVA than men (36% vs 15%, P < .05). Both carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (r =-0.27, P < .05) and brachial systolic blood pressure (r =-0.23, P < .05) were independently and inversely associated with CRF for the entire cohort. Men and women with HVA were younger having a lower body fat percentage and higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P < .05, all).


Conclusions: These data demonstrate that HVA is associated with higher CRF, which may partially explain the preventative cardioprotective effects of CRF.