Microcirculatory Characteristics in Neck/Shoulder of the Adults with Sedentary and Exercise Lifestyles
High risk of musculoskeletal diseases had been demonstrated in many people with a sedentary lifestyle. As microcirculation provides primary information on tissue health, this paper aims to compare the perfusion characteristics in neck/shoulder of individuals at different physical activity levels. High power laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) system and averaging algorithm were used to obtain the microcirculatory characteristics. Thirty-two participants with different exercise habit were recruited, which were divided into sedentary group (n = 16) and exercise group (n = 16). The participants in both groups were matched in age, gender, and body mass index. Peripheral blood perfusion signals on the neck-shoulder region pre- and post- upper trapezius stretching were acquired using LDF with a noninvasive wide separation probe. A modified beat-to-beat algorithm was then applied for the analysis of the microcirculatory signals, including pulsatile and nonpulsatile components. The Mann–Whitney U test was used to compare the differences of perfusion characteristics between these two groups. The pulsatile component of LDF signals in the exercise group was greater than that of the sedentary counterparts after the upper trapezius stretching (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the index of perfusion pulsatility (ratio of pulsatile component to mean LDF signal) of the exercise group was significantly higher than that of the sedentary group (P < 0.01). This index could differentiate these two groups both at the baseline and post- stretching. Even with low exercise volume, exercise group with regular physical activity appear noticeably different in microcirculatory characteristics in this study. The subjects who exercised had higher values of microcirculatory pulsatility. These findings may encourage people to exercise more often based on the benefit in microcirculation even with small increases in physical activity volume.