Martial Arts Training Attenuates Arterial Stiffness in Middle Aged Adults


avatar Peter C. Douris 1 , * , avatar Teresa Ingenito 1 , avatar Barbara Piccirillo 2 , avatar Meredith Herbst 1 , avatar John Petrizzo 1 , avatar Vincen Cherian 1 , avatar Christopher McCutchan 1 , avatar Caitlin Burke 1 , avatar George Stamatinos 1 , avatar Min-Kyung Jung 3

1 Department of Physical Therapy, New York Institute of Technology, USA

2 Department of Physician Assistant Studies, New York Institute of Technology, USA

3 New York York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, USA

How to Cite: Douris P C, Ingenito T, Piccirillo B, Herbst M, Petrizzo J, et al. Martial Arts Training Attenuates Arterial Stiffness in Middle Aged Adults. Asian J Sports Med.4(3):34259. doi: 10.5812/asjsm.34259.


Asian Journal of Sports Medicine: 4 (3); 201-207
Published Online: May 20, 2013
Article Type: Research Article
Received: December 6, 2012
Accepted: March 23, 2013


Purpose: Arterial stiffness increases with age and is related to an increased risk of coronary artery disease. Poor trunk flexibility has been shown to be associated with arterial stiffness in middle-aged subjects. The purpose of our research study was to measure arterial stiffness and flexibility in healthy middle-aged martial artists compared to age and gender matched healthy sedentary controls.

Methods: Ten martial artists (54.0 2.0 years), who practice Soo Bahk Do (SBD), a Korean martial art, and ten sedentary subjects (54.7 1.8 years) for a total of twenty subjects took part in this cross-sectional study. Arterial stiffness was assessed in all subjects using pulse wave velocity (PWV), a recognized index of arterial stiffness. Flexibility of the trunk and hamstring were also measured. The independent variables were the martial artists and matched sedentary controls. The dependent variables were PWV and flexibility.

Results: There were significant differences, between the SBD practitioners and sedentary controls, in PWV (P = 0.004), in trunk flexibility (P= 0.002), and in hamstring length (P= 0.003).

Conclusion: The middle-aged martial artists were more flexible in their trunk and hamstrings and had less arterial stiffness compared to the healthy sedentary controls. The flexibility component of martial art training or flexibility exercises in general may be considered as a possible intervention to reduce the effects of aging on arterial stiffness.

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