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Am Heart J. 2014 Oct;168(4):597-604. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2014.07.024. Epub 2014 Jul 30.

Physical activity and resting pulse rate in older adults: findings from a randomized controlled trial.

Author information

1
Dalio Institute of Cardiovascular Imaging, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY; Department of Internal Medicine/Section of Geriatrics, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Electronic address: briain.ohartaigh@yale.edu.
2
Department of Aging and Geriatric Research, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL.
3
Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY.
4
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.
5
Department of Internal Medicine/Section of Geriatrics, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Elevated resting pulse rate (RPR) is a well-recognized risk factor for adverse outcomes. Epidemiological evidence supports the beneficial effects of regular exercise for lowering RPR, but studies are mainly confined to persons younger than 65 years. We set out to evaluate the utility of a physical activity (PA) intervention for slowing RPR among older adults.

METHODS:

A total of 424 seniors (ages 70-89 years) were randomized to a moderate intensity PA intervention or an education-based "successful aging" health program. Resting pulse rate was assessed at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months. Longitudinal differences in RPR were evaluated between treatment groups using generalized estimating equation models, reporting unstandardized β coefficients with robust SEs.

RESULTS:

Increased frequency and duration of aerobic training were observed for the PA group at 6 and 12 months as compared with the successful aging group (P < .001). In both groups, RPR remained unchanged over the course of the 12-month study period (P = .67). No significant improvement was observed (β [SE] = 0.58 [0.88]; P = .51) for RPR when treatment groups were compared using the generalized estimating equation method. Comparable results were found after omitting participants with a pacemaker, cardiac arrhythmia, or who were receiving β-blockers.

CONCLUSIONS:

Twelve months of moderate intensity aerobic training did not improve RPR among older adults. Additional studies are needed to determine whether PA of longer duration and/or greater intensity can slow RPR in older persons.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00116194.

PMID:
25262271
PMCID:
PMC4180058
DOI:
10.1016/j.ahj.2014.07.024
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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