Recent evidence suggests that octogenarians exhibit attenuated adaptations to training with a small increase in peak O2 consumption (V̇O2) that is mediated by a modest improvement in cardiac output without an increase in arteriovenous O2 content difference. This study was designed to determine whether diminished increases in peak V̇O2 and cardiac output in the octogenarians are associated with absence of left ventricular and arterial adaptations to exercise training. We studied 22 octogenarians (81.9 ± 3.7 yr, mean ± SD) randomly assigned a group that exercised at an intensity of 82.5 ± 5% of peak heart rate for 9 mo and 14 (age 83.1 ± 4.1) assigned to a control group. Peak V̇O2 increased 12% in the exercise group but decreased slightly (-7%) in the controls. The exercise group demonstrated significant but small decreases in the heart rate (6%, P = 0.002) and the rate-pressure product (9%, P = 0.004) during submaximal exercise at an absolute work rate. Training induced no significant changes in the left ventricular size, geometry (wall thickness-to-radius ratio), mass, and function assessed with two-dimensional echocardiography or in arterial stiffness evaluated with applanation tonometry. Data suggest that the absence of cardiac and arterial adaptations may in part account for the limited gain in aerobic capacity in response to training in the octogenarians.
- Cardiac and arterial adaptations to exercise