European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 75–82 | Cite as

Age attenuated response to aerobic conditioning in postmenopausal women

  • Conrad P. Earnest
  • Steven N. Blair
  • Timothy S. Church
Original Article


The decline in aerobic capacity does not appear to be linear across age. To explore this relationship, we examined the maximal cardiorespiratory response of 251 postmenopausal women to 6 months of exercise training: control (no exercise), or exercise at 4, 8, or 12 kcal/kg/week (KKW). Exercise intensity was set at a heart rate associated with 50% of peak VO2peak and women were stratified by age into three groups: <55 years, 55–59 years, >60 years. Differences in outcomes among groups were tested by ANOVA and the results were presented as adjusted least squares means with confidence intervals. At baseline participants who were >60 years had a lower VO2peak than those <55 years [mean (SD) 1.44 (0.24) vs. 1.20 (0.20) L/min, P < 0.04). Following exercise training, we observed an attenuated training response due to age within the 8 and 12 KKW groups (both, P for trend 0.001). For the 8 KKW group, changes in VO2peak were [mean, (95% CI)]: <55 years [0.18 (0.12, 0.24) L/min], <55 years, 55–59 years [0.08 (0.02, 0.15) L/min], and >60 years [0.02 (−0.03, 0.08)]. For 12 KKW group, the changes were: <55 years [0.19 (0.15, 0.24) L/min], 55–59 years [0.13 (0.08, 0.18) L/min], and >60 years [0.05 (−0.01, 0.10)]. Our data show that despite similar exercise intensities, age plays a significant role in the maximal cardiorespiratory response to exercise training regardless of training volume in women who have completed menopause.


Women Fitness Exercise Individual response 



This work was supported by Grant HL66262 from the National Institutes of Health. We also thank Life Fitness for providing exercise equipment. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The results of the present study do not constitute endorsement by ACSM.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Conrad P. Earnest
    • 1
  • Steven N. Blair
    • 2
  • Timothy S. Church
    • 3
  1. 1.Exercise Biology, Division of Preventive MedicinePennington Biomedical Research CenterBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.Arnold School of Public HealthUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Division of Preventive MedicinePennington Biomedical Research CenterBaton RougeUSA

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