Several studies have shown training induced morphological changes in the heart. Our aim was to assess how frequent, low-intensity exercise (walking and cycling) influences heart function and morphology in abdominally obese women. Fifty women with abdominal obesity (mean age 47.0 +/- 7.5 years, waist circumference (WC) 103.2 +/- 7.8 cm), free of cardiovascular problems were recruited. They were equipped with a bicycle and pedometers and instructed to start commuting in a physically active way for 6 months. Evaluation of cardiac function and morphology was performed using echocardiography (ECHO) before and after 6 months of training. The subjects increased significantly their daily physical activity. After 6 months, there was a significant decrease in WC (from 103.3 +/- 7.9 to 100.8 +/- 8.4 cm, P = 0.0003), in systolic and diastolic blood pressure (126.8 +/- 15.2 to 120.4 +/- 14.5 mmHg, P = 0.0001, and 79.8 +/- 7.8 to 77.8 +/- 8.4 mmHg, P = 0.0006, respectively). ECHO showed an increase in the right ventricular (RV) systolic longitudinal function expressed as tricuspid annular motion from 22.00 +/- 3.30 to 23.05 +/- 3.59 mm, P = 0.015; and a similar trend in left ventricular (LV) mitral annular motion, which increased from 13.09 +/- 1.53 to 13.39 +/- 1.47 mm, P = 0.070. Cycling was associated with reductions in LV systolic and RV diastolic dimensions, whereas walking was not associated with any changes in the ECHO-variables. A reduction in WC by frequent, low-intensity exercise in abdominally obese women is associated with decrease in blood pressure and improved longitudinal RV systolic function.
2010. Vol. 30, no 5, 354-9 p.