Improved metabolic fitness, but no cardiovascular health effects, of a low-frequency short-term combined exercise programme in 50–70-year-olds with low fitness: A randomized controlled trial

Tina Thea Nielsen, Trine K. Møller, Niels D. Olesen, Mette K. Zebis, Christian Ritz, Nikolai Nordsborg, Peter R. Hansen, Peter Krustrup*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

We evaluated the cardiometabolic effects of a 15-week combined exercise programme, implemented in sports clubs, for 50–70-year-olds with low aerobic fitness. In a randomized controlled trial, 45 participants (26 women) with low fitness were randomly assigned (2:1-ratio) to a training group (TG, n = 30) or inactive control group (CG, n = 15). TG had 15 weeks with one weekly 90-min supervised group-based session in a recreational sports club with combined aerobic exercise and strength training and were encouraged to perform home-based training 30 min/wk. Evaluations of relative VO2max (mLO2/min/kg), blood pressure, resting heart rate (HR), echocardiography, peripheral arterial tonometry, body composition, lipid profile and HbA1c were performed at 0 and 15 wks. Average HR during supervised training was 113 ± 13 bpm (68.6 ± 7.0%HRmax), with 4.3 ± 6.6% spent >90%HRmax. At 15-wk follow-up, intention-to-treat analyses revealed no between-group difference for VO2max/kg (0.4 mLO2/min/kg, 95%CI −0.8–1.5, P = 0.519; −3 mL/min, 95%CI −123–118, P = 0.966) or other cardiovascular outcomes (all P > 0.05). Compared to CG, total fat mass (−1.9 kg; 95%CI −3.2 to −0.5, P = 0.005), total fat percentage (−1.3%, 95%CI −2.2 to −0.3, P = 0.01) and total/HDL cholesterol ratio (P = 0.032) decreased in TG. Regular adherence to supervised training was high (81%), but 0% for home-based exercise. In conclusion, the group-based supervised training was associated with high adherence and moderate exercise intensity, whereas insufficiently supported home-based training was not feasible. Together, 15 wks of combined exercise training did not improve aerobic fitness or affected cardiovascular function in 50–70-yr-olds with low aerobic fitness, whereas some positive effects were observed in metabolic parameters. Highlights Combined exercise training implemented in a sports club elicited moderate aerobic intensity in 50-70-year-old untrained individuals. Supervised group-based training had high adherence whereas unsupported home-based training had very low adherence. 15 weeks of low-frequency combined moderate intensity exercise training improved lipid profile and fat mass, but had no effect on cardiovascular fitness.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Volume22
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)460-473
ISSN1746-1391
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Keywords

  • adherence
  • Aerobic fitness
  • body composition
  • exercise intensity
  • fat percentage
  • Physical Fitness/physiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Exercise/physiology
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Body Composition/physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption/physiology
  • Female
  • Aged
  • Sedentary Behavior

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