Effects of gender, age, and fitness level on response of V{O(2max)) to training in 60-71 yr olds

W. M. Kohrt, M. T. Malley, A. R. Coggan, R. J. Spina, T. Ogawa, A. A. Ehsani, R. E. Bourey, W. H. Martin, J. O. Holloszy

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The adaptive response of maximal aerobic power (V{O(2max))) to endurance exercise training was compared in 53 men and 57 women, aged 60-71 yr. The subjects were healthy and had been sedentary for at least 2 yr. Pretraining V{O(2max)) was measured during graded treadmill walking on two occasions. These values were reproducible (24.4 ± 4.7 vs. 24.4 ± 4.6 (SD) ml · min- 1 · kg-1; r = 0.96). Subjects trained primarily by walking and running for 9-12 mo, averaging 3.9 ± 0.6 days/wk and 45 ± 5 min/day at 80 ± 5% of maximal heart rate (HR(max)). Average improvement in V{O(2max)) (ml · min- 1 · kg-1) was 24 ± 12% (range 0-58%). Relative improvement was not significantly different in men and women (26 ± 12 vs. 23 ± 12%, ml · min- 1 · kg-1; 21 ± 10 vs. 19 ± 10%, 1/min). When subjects were divided into three groups by age (60-62, 63-66, 67-71 yr), there were no significant differences among the groups in the relative increase in V{O(2max)) (21% vs. 19% vs. 18%, l/min). Correlation analysis also yielded a nonsignificant relationship between improvement and age (r = -0.13). To examine the effect of initial fitness level on the adaptive response to exercise, pretraining V̇(2max) was correlated with the absolute improvement in V{O(2max)). This relationship was not significant in either men (r = 0.04) or women (r = - 0.23). In conclusion, in healthy people aged 60-71 yr, V{O(2max)) adapts to endurance exercise training to the same relative extent as in young people, and this adaptation is independent of gender, age, and initial level of fitness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2004-2011
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1991


  • aging
  • cardiovascular function
  • maximal aerobic power


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