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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2015 Sep;115(9):1855-66. doi: 10.1007/s00421-015-3167-z. Epub 2015 Apr 16.

Patterning of physiological and affective responses in older active adults during a maximal graded exercise test and self-selected exercise.

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Alliance for Research in Exercise Nutrition and Activity (ARENA), Sansom Institute for Health Research, School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, PO Box 2471, Adelaide, SA, 5001, Australia,



The American College of Sports Medicine has highlighted the importance of considering the physiological and affective responses to exercise when setting exercise intensity. Here, we examined the relationship between exercise intensity and physiological and affective responses in active older adults.


Eighteen participants (60-74 years; 64.4 ± 3.9; 8 women) completed a maximal graded exercise test (GXT) on a treadmill. Since time to exhaustion in the GXT differed between participants, heart rate (HR), oxygen consumption (VO2), affective valence (affect) and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were expressed relative to the individually determined ventilatory threshold (%atVT).


During the GXT, VO2, HR and RPE increased linearly (all P < 0.01). Affect declined initially (but remained positive) (P = 0.03), stabilised around VT (still positive) (P > 0.05) and became negative towards the end of the test (P < 0.01). In a subsequent session, participants completed a 20-min bout of self-selected exercise (at a preferred intensity). Initially, participants chose to exercise below VT (88.2 ± 17.4 %VO2atVT); however, the intensity was adjusted to work at, or above VT (107.7 ± 19.9 %VO2atVT) after 10 min (P < 0.001), whilst affect remained positive.


Together, these findings indicate that exercise around VT, whether administered during an exercise test, or self-selected by the participant, is likely to result in positive affective responses in older adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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