Exercise training enhances leg vasodilatory capacity of 65-yr-old men and women

W. H. Martin, W. M. Kohrt, M. T. Malley, E. Korte, S. Stoltz

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To determine whether extremity vasodilatory capacity may be augmented in older persons by endurance exercise training, lower leg blood flow and conductance were characterized plethysmographically at rest and during maximal hyperemia in 9 men and 10 women aged 64 ± 3 (SD) yr before and after 31 ± 6 wk of walking and jogging at 70-90% of maximal oxygen uptake for 45 min 3-5 days/wk. Maximal oxygen uptake expressed as milliliters per kilogram per minute improved 25% in men and 21% in women (P < 0.01). Maximal leg blood flow and conductance increased in all nine men by an average of 39 ± 33 (P < 0.001) and 42 ± 44% (P < 0.004), respectively. Results were more variable in women and achieved unequivocal statistical significance only for maximal blood flow (+33 ± 54% for blood flow and +29 ± 55% for conductance; P < 0.02 and P = 0.05, respectively). Body weight and skinfold adiposity declined in both sexes (P < 0.05). Enhancement of vasodilatory capacity was related to weight loss in men and adipose tissue loss in women (r = 0.61 and 0.51, respectively; P < 0.05). There were no significant changes in exercise capacity, body weight, or maximal blood flow in four male and three female controls aged 66 ± 4 yr. Thus adaptability of the lower limb circulation to endurance exercise training is retained to at least age 65 yr.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1804-1809
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 1990


  • body composition
  • leg blood flow
  • maximal oxygen uptake
  • plethysmography

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