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Am J Cardiol. 1991 Mar 15;67(7):633-9.

Effects of exercise training on cardiorespiratory function in men and women older than 60 years of age.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710.


This study reports the physiologic effects of up to 14 months of aerobic exercise in 101 older (greater than 60 years) men and women. After an extensive baseline physiologic assessment (Time 1), in which aerobic capacity and blood lipids were measured, subjects were randomized to an aerobic exercise condition (cycle ergometry, 3 times per week for 1 hour), nonaerobic yoga (2 times per week for 1 hour), or a waiting list nonexercise control group for 4 months, and then underwent a second (Time 2) assessment. At the completion of the second assessment, all remaining subjects completed 4 months of aerobic exercise and were reevaluated (Time 3). Subjects were given the option of participating in 6 additional months of supervised aerobic exercise, and all available subjects completed a fourth assessment (Time 4) 14 months after their initial baseline evaluation. Results indicated that subjects generally exhibited a 10 to 15% improvement in peak oxygen consumption after 4 months of aerobic exercise training, and a 1 to 6% improvement in aerobic power with additional aerobic exercise training. On the other hand, subjects, especially men, continued to have improvements in submaximal exercise performance (i.e., anaerobic threshold). In addition, aerobic exercise was associated with an improved lipid profile; subjects participating in aerobic exercise for up to 14 months exhibited increased levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Maintenance of regular aerobic exercise for an extended time interval is associated with greater cardiovascular benefits among older adults than has been reported previously.

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