Journal of Applied Physiology


This study determined the effects of endurance or resistance exercise training on maximal O2 consumption (VO2max) and the cardiovascular responses to exercise of 70- to 79-yr-old men and women. Healthy untrained subjects were randomly assigned to a control group (n = 12) or to an endurance (n = 16) or resistance training group (n = 19). Training consisted of three sessions per week for 26 wk. Resistance training consisted of one set of 8–12 repetitions on 10 Nautilus machines. Endurance training consisted of 40 min at 50–70% VO2max and at 75–85% VO2max for the first and last 13 wk of training, respectively. The endurance training group increased its VO2max by 16% during the first 13 wk of training and by a total of 22% after 26 wk of training; this group also increased its maximal O2 pulse, systolic blood pressure, and ventilation, and decreased its heart rate and perceived exertion during submaximal exercise. The resistance training group did not elicit significant changes in VO2max or in other maximal or submaximal cardiovascular responses despite eliciting 9 and 18% increases in lower and upper body strength, respectively. Thus healthy men and women in their 70s can respond to prolonged endurance exercise training with adaptations similar to those of younger individuals. Resistance training in older individuals has no effect on cardiovascular responses to submaximal or maximal treadmill exercise.