Term of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Nick J. Siekirk

Committee Member 1

Gregory J. Grosicki

Committee Member 2

Barry Joyner

Non-Voting Committee Member

Collin Smith


BACKGROUND: Physical activity may alter the trajectory of age-related arterial stiffening, which is associated with cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Trunk stretching has reduced arterial stiffness (AS) in young males, but its effect in middle-aged to older adults is unclear. This study examined the effects of passively assisted trunk stretching (PATS) on aortic arterial stiffness and central and peripheral blood pressure in middle-aged to older adults. METHODS: Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cf-PWV) and Augmentation Index normalized to a heart rate of 75 beats per minute (AIx75) were measured in 28 middle-aged to older adults (14M/14F; 72 ± 7 years; 28.5 ± 5.3 kg/m2) before and after PATS and time-matched control visits, the order of which was randomized. Six passively assisted stretches (prone trunk flexion, supine trunk extension, (n = 2) side-lying lateral trunk flexion, and (n = 2) standing trunk rotations) were held for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest. This sequence was repeated five times in rotational order with the first stretch randomized. The time-matched control visit consisted of 30 minutes of seated rest. Separate linear mixed models were used to compare changes calculated as post – pre in cf-PWV, AIx75, and central (aortic) and peripheral (brachial) blood pressures between visits, alpha set at α = 0.05. RESULTS: Changes in cf-PWV were not detected between PATS (0.09 ± 0.61 m/s) and control (0.37, SD = 0.68 m/s) visits when controlling for ∆ in Mean Arterial Pressure (p = 0.948) and when not (p = 0.066). Changes in AIx75 were not found between PATS (-1.79, ± 5.72 %) and control visits (-2.66 ± 5.06 %), p = 0.543. Passively assisted trunk stretching reduced aortic BP (stretch: -3 ± 7/-2 ± 5 mmHg vs. control 9 ± 14/4 ± 4 mmHg), and brachial BP (stretch: -2 ± 8/-1 ± 4 mmHg vs. control 8 ± 7/4 ± 4 mmHg), ps < 0.001. CONCLUSION: Trunk stretching, held to moderate discomfort without pain, attenuated increased BP observed during sitting but not arterial stiffness (cf-PWV or AIx75) in middle-aged to older adults.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material