Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 287–292 | Cite as

Changes in body composition and use of blood cholesterol lowering drugs predict changes in blood lipids during 12 weeks of resistance exercise training in old adults

  • A. Arnarson
  • A. Ramel
  • O. G. Geirsdottir
  • P. V. Jonsson
  • I. Thorsdottir
Original Article



Aging is associated with an impairment of blood lipids. The present study investigated the response of blood lipids to resistance exercise in old adults. The particular aim was to investigate whether the response of blood lipids is associated with changes in body composition of blood lipid medication.


Subjects (N = 236, 73.7 ± 5.7 years, 58.2 % female) participated in a 12-week resistance exercise program (3 times/week; 3 sets, 6–8 repetitions at 75–80 % of the 1-repetition maximum), designed to increase strength and muscle mass of major muscle groups. Body composition, drug use, triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) were assessed at baseline and endpoint.


The concentrations of HDL (−6 mg/dl), LDL (−18 mg/dl), TC (−26 mg/dl) and TG (−12 mg/g) decreased significantly during the study period. A reduction in fat mass by 1 kg predicted a reduction in TG (5.0 mg/dl, P = 0.017) and a gain in lean body mass by 1 kg predicted also a reduction in TG (−4.5 mg/dl, P = 0.023). The use of blood cholesterol lowering drugs predicted greater reductions in TC (−16.9 mg/dl, P = 0.032) and LDL (−11.8 mg/dl, P = 0.038) during training.


TG, TC, LDL and HDL decreased significantly after 12 weeks of progressive resistance exercise in old adults. Changes in body composition, i.e., reduction in fat mass and gain in lean body mass improved the blood lipid profile. Use of blood lipid lowering drugs was associated with greater reductions in TC and LDL after the training.


Resistance exercise Blood lipids Old adults Blood cholesterol lowering drugs 



This study was part of the IceProQualita project, which was funded by the Icelandic Technology Development Fund (No. 071323008), Research Fund of the University of Iceland, a grant from Landspitali University Hospital Research Fund and the Helga Jonsdottir and Sigurlidi Kristjansson Geriatric Research Fund. The trial is registered at the US National Library of Medicine (Nr. NCT01074879).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Arnarson
    • 1
    • 4
  • A. Ramel
    • 1
    • 4
  • O. G. Geirsdottir
    • 1
    • 4
  • P. V. Jonsson
    • 2
    • 3
  • I. Thorsdottir
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Unit for Nutrition ResearchFaculty of Food Science and Nutrition, University of IcelandReykjavikIceland
  2. 2.Department of GeriatricsNational University Hospital of IcelandReykjavikIceland
  3. 3.The Icelandic Gerontological Research Center, Faculty of MedicineNational University Hospital of IcelandReykjavikIceland
  4. 4.Unit for Nutrition ResearchNational University Hospital of IcelandReykjavikIceland

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