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Metabolism. 1999 Aug;48(8):984-8.

Effects of low-intensity aerobic training on the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration in healthy elderly subjects.

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  • 1Department of Exercise Physiology, School of Medicine, Fukuoka University, Japan.


The concentration of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) is inversely correlated with the risk of coronary heart disease. The effects of low-intensity aerobic training on serum HDL-C and other lipoprotein concentrations were examined in healthy elderly subjects. The subjects were randomly assigned to two groups matched for sex, age, height, and weight. The training group (n = 20, 10 men and 10 women aged 67 +/- 4 years) participated in a supervised physical exercise regimen using a bicycle ergometer at an intensity of 50% estimated maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) for 60 minutes two to four times per week for 5 months. In contrast, the control group (n = 20, 10 men and 10 women aged 68 +/- 4 years) did not perform any particular physical training. The training protocol resulted in significant increases in the VO2max (P < .05), HDL-C, HDL2-C, and HDL2-C/HDL3-C ratio (P < .01). The change in HDL2-C (r = .57, P < .01) and HDL2-C/HDL3-C (r = .63, P < .01) was positively associated with an increase in the total exercise duration per week. In addition, the total weekly exercise duration also showed a significant positive relationship with HDL-C (r = .75, P < .01), HDL2-C (r = .81, P < .01), and HDL2-C/HDL3-C (r = .71, P < .01) after the training period. The changes in body weight and the VO2max were not significantly correlated with any lipid parameters. Low-intensity aerobic training may improve the profile of HDL-C and its subfractions in healthy elderly subjects. Also, the total exercise duration may be an important factor for improving HDL-C and HDL2-C in elderly subjects.

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