Effects of interval training at the ventilatory threshold on clinical and cardiorespiratory responses in elderly humans
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This study assessed clinical and cardiorespiratory responses after an interval training programme in sedentary elderly adults using the ventilatory threshold (Vth) as the index of exercise training intensity. A selection of 22 subjects were randomized into two groups: 11 subjects served as the training group (TG) and the others as controls (CG). Maximal exercise tests were performed on a treadmill before (T0), each month (T1, T2) and after the 3-month interval training programme period (T3). The TG subjects were individually trained at the heart rate corresponding to Vth measured at T0, T1 and T2 as the breakpoint in the oxygen uptake-carbon dioxide production relationship. Their training programme consisted of walking/jogging sessions on a running track twice a week. The sessions consisted of varying durations of exercise alternating with active recovery in such a way that the subjects slowly increased their total exercise time from an initial duration of 30 min to a final duration of 1 h. During training the heart rate was continuously monitored by a cardiofrequency meter. Compared with the daily activities of the controls, no training programme-related injuries were observed in TG. Moreover, programme adherence (73%) and attendance (97.3%) were high. The maximal oxygen uptake and Vth were increased in TG, by 20% (P<0.05) and 26% (P<0.01), respectively. Interval training at Vth also significantly increased maximal O2 pulse (P<0.05) and maximal ventilation (P<0.01). A significant decrease in submaximal ventilation (P<0.05) and heart rate (P<0.01) was also noted. These results would suggest that for untrained elderly adults, an interval training programme at the intensity of Vth may be well-tolerated clinically and may significantly improve both maximal aerobic power and submaximal exercise tolerance.
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