Resting heart rate changes after endurance training in older adults: A meta-analysis

Guoyuan Huang, Xiangrong Shi, Jane A. Davis-Brezette, Wayne H. Osness

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Purpose: Question remains regarding endurance training and changes in resting heart rate (HR) among older individuals. The objective of this meta-analysis was to determine the effects of controlled aerobic training on resting HR among sedentary older adults. Methods: Studies were identified by a systematic computer database search, hand article search, and cross-reference. The inclusion criteria were (i) controlled clinical trials, (ii) endurance exercise as the only intervention, (iii) a nonexercise control group, (iv) within-group mean ages of subjects ≥60 yr, (v) a measure of changes in resting HR, (vi) studies published in English journals. Results: Outcome was derived from 13 studies with a total of 651 individuals in 14 control (N = 241) and 16 exercise groups (N = 410). The pooled standardized effect size by a fixed-effect model showed an upper moderate effect of -0.58 ± 0.08 (mean ± SEM, 95% CI = -0.74 to -0.42). This homogeneity effect was statistically significant (P = 0.001). The magnitude of net change averaged -6 bpm(-2 to -12 bpm), representing an 8.4% reduction. Greater and statistically significant decrease of resting HR among the elderly was found in the studies with training length more than 30 wk. Conclusions: This meta-analytic investigation supports the efficacy of endurance exercise training in decreasing HR at rest in older adults. This training induced adaptation may have protective benefits for cardiovascular aging. A longer exercise training length, probably more than 30 wk, may be needed for older individuals to be more effective in terms of resting HR reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1381-1386
Number of pages6
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2005


  • Aerobic
  • Cardiovascular
  • Change
  • Elderly
  • Systematic


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