Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 341–349 | Cite as

Cardiorespiratory responses and myocardial function within incremental exercise in healthy unmedicated older vs. young men and women

  • Paulo FarinattiEmail author
  • Walace Monteiro
  • Ricardo Oliveira
  • Antonio Crisafulli
Original Article



Age-related differences concerning cardiorespiratory responses and myocardial function during exercise have not been extensively investigated in healthy populations.


To compare cardiorespiratory performance and myocardial function during maximal exercise in healthy/unmedicated men (older, n = 24, 63–75 years; young, n = 22, 19–25 years) and women (older, n = 18, age = 63–74 years; young, n = 23, 19–25 years).


Oxygen uptake (VO2), ventilation minute (VE), heart rate (HR), stroke volume (SV), cardiac output (Q), O2 pulse (O2p), preejection period (PEP), and left ventricular ejection time (LVET) were assessed during cycle incremental exercise.


HR and SV remained equivalent between age groups until 75 and 50% peak workload, respectively. Q increased by 2.5 and 4.5 times in older and young groups, respectively. However, Q/VO2 ratio was always similar across age and sex groups (∼0.50). The energetic efficiency ratio (W/VO2) was also alike in older and young men, but slightly lower in women. At maximal exercise, cardiorespiratory responses were lower in older than young men and women: VO2 (−40 to 50%), V E (−35 to 37%), HR (−23%), SV (−26 to 29%), Q (−43 to 45%), and O2p (−15 to 20%). Cardiac and SV indices were lower in older than young groups by approximately 42 and 25%, respectively. LVET was longer in the older individuals, while PEP was similar across age groups. Hence, PEP/LVET was lowered among older vs. young men and women.


Submaximal work capacity was preserved in healthy and unmedicated older individuals. Age-related lessening of maximal performance in both sexes was due to poor chronotropic and, particularly, inotropic properties of the heart.


Aging Inotropism Thoracic impedance Aerobic exercise Fitness Health 



We thank Dr. Jacques H.P. Vanfraechem from the Free University of Brussels for the precious support during data collection and analysis. This study was supported by grants from the ‘Carlos Chagas Foundation for the Research Support at the State of Rio de Janeiro’ (FAPERJ) and ‘Brazilian Council for Technological and Research Development’ (CNPq).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Physical Activity and Health Promotion (LABSAU), Institute of Physical Education and SportsUniversity of Rio de Janeiro StateRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Graduate Program in Sciences of Physical ActivitySalgado de Oliveira UniversityNiteroiBrazil
  3. 3.Sports Physiology Laboratory, Department of Medical Sciences and Public HealthUniversity of CagliariCagliariItaly
  4. 4.Graduate Program in Exercise and Sports SciencesUniversity of Rio de Janeiro StateRio de JaneiroBrazil

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