Effects of posture on upper and lower limb peripheral resistance following submaximal cycling

Pamela D. Swan, Diane L. Spitler, Mikel K. Todd, Jennie L. Maupin, Cynthia L. Lewis, Patricia M. Darragh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine postural effects on upper and lower limb peripheral resistance (PR) after submaximal exercise. Twelve subjects (six men and six women) completed submaximal cycle ergometer tests (60% age-predicted maximum heart rate) in the supine and upright seated positions. Each test included 20 minutes of rest, 20 minutes of cycling, and 15 minutes of recovery. Stroke volume and heart rate were determined by impedance cardiography, and blood pressure was measured by auscultation during rest, immediately after exercise, and at minutes 1-5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, and 15 of recovery. Peripheral resistance was calculated from values of mean arterial pressure and cardiac output. No significant (p < 0.05) postural differences in PR were noted during rest for either limb. Immediately after exercise, PR decreased (55% to 61%) from resting levels in both limbs, independent of posture. Recovery ankle PR values were significantly different between postures. Upright ankle PR returned to 92% of the resting level within four minutes of recovery, compared to 76% of the resting level after 15 minutes in the supine posture. Peripheral resistance values in the supine and upright arm were not affected by posture and demonstrated a gradual pattern of recovery similar to the supine ankle recovery response (85% to 88% of rest within 15 minutes). The accelerated recovery rate of PR after upright exercise may result from local vasoconstriction mediated by a central regulatory response to stimulation from gravitational pressure on lower body circulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)678-680
Number of pages3
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiac output
  • Exertion
  • Impedance cardiography
  • Recovery
  • Stroke volume

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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