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Age Ageing. 2002 Jul;31(4):247-54.

Improving cardiovascular fitness by strength or endurance training in women aged 76-78 years. A population-based, randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Jyväskylä Central Hospital, Keskussairaalantie 19, FIN-40620, Jyväskylä, Finland.



there have been few population-based, randomized controlled trials on the effects of strength or endurance training on cardiovascular fitness in older women.


to study the effects of strength or endurance training on cardiovascular fitness in women aged 76-78 years.


a population-based, randomized controlled trial.


exercise laboratory in a university faculty of sport and health sciences.


we randomly assigned 42 medically-screened women aged 76-78 years, drawn from the population register to strength (n=16), endurance (n=15) or control (n=11) groups.


subjects in the two exercise groups performed a supervised, individually tailored 18-week strength or endurance training programme. Controls continued with physical activity at their normal level.


the strength training group showed an increase in cycle ergometer peak power from 68.1 to 70.3 W (P=0.035 compared with controls). Their peak power per kg body weight increased from 1.02 to 1.05, while that of the endurance training group increased from 0.91 to 0.93 (P=0.027 and P=0.049 respectively). Peak oxygen uptake increased from 18.1 to 19.7 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1) in the strength and from 17.1 to 18.2 in the endurance group (non-significant). Six subjects (19%) in the exercise groups withdrew from the study because of health problems.


even with its limitations, the study suggests that the effect of 18-week strength or endurance training on cardiovascular fitness among women aged >/=75 is relatively small. Furthermore, health problems can emerge during training programmes in medically-screened elderly women.

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