Low to Moderate Intensity Endurance Training in Healthy Older Adults: Physiological Responses after Four Months

Joel D. Posner, Kevin M. Gorman, Lisa Windsor‐Landsberg, James Larsen, Michael Bleiman, Carl Shaw, Beth Rosenberg, Janice Knebl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Scopus citations

Abstract

To determine the physiological adaptations in previously sedentary healthy older men and women (mean age = 68) to a 16‐week low‐to‐moderate‐intensity exercise program. Randomized, controlled trial. An exercise facility and testing laboratory in a gerontological research institute. Two‐hundred forty‐seven community‐dwelling older persons free of significant cardiovascular, pulmonary, or uncontrolled metabolic disease, anemia, electrolyte abnormality, resting BP of 165/90 or greater, or chronic disease affecting the ability to exercise on a bicycle. Subjects were randomly assigned to either an exercise (n = 166) or attention control group (n = 81). Exercisers trained thrice weekly for 40 minutes on a cycle ergometer (5‐minute warm up, 30 minutes at training heart rate (THR), 5‐minute cool down). THR was set at 70% of peak heart rate attained on a maximal exercise test (mean = 115 ± 15). Control subjects attended weekly group talks. Testing took place before and after the program. Peak attained oxygen uptake (VO2max) increased 8.5% in exercisers and decreased slightly in controls (p < .001) and oxygen uptake at ventilatory threshold (VeT VO2) increased by 3.5% in exercisers and decreased by 3% in controls (p < .001). This pattern of a greater increase in VO2max than VeT VO2 is different from that seen in young and middle‐aged subjects. This study demonstrated that a large scale training program is feasible for healthy older people, that physiologic improvements can be measured after 16 weeks of low‐to‐moderate‐intensity training, and that mechanisms of adaptation to exercise may be different in elderly subjects from those in younger ones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1992

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