Cardiovascular effects of 1 year of progressive and vigorous exercise training in previously sedentary individuals older than 65 years of age

Naoki Fujimoto, Anand Prasad, Jeffrey L. Hastings, Armin Arbab-Zadeh, Paul S. Bhella, Shigeki Shibata, Dean Palmer, Benjamin D. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Scopus citations


Background: Healthy but sedentary aging leads to cardiovascular stiffening, whereas life-long endurance training preserves left ventricular (LV) compliance. However, it is unknown whether exercise training started later in life can reverse the effects of sedentary behavior on the heart. Methods and Results: Twelve sedentary seniors and 12 Masters athletes were thoroughly screened for comorbidities. Subjects underwent invasive hemodynamic measurements with pulmonary artery catheterization to define Starling and LV pressure-volume curves; secondary functional outcomes included Doppler echocardiography, magnetic resonance imaging assessment of cardiac morphology, arterial stiffness (total aortic compliance and arterial elastance), and maximal exercise testing. Nine of 12 sedentary seniors (70.6±3 years; 6 male, 3 female) completed 1 year of endurance training followed by repeat measurements. Pulmonary capillary wedge pressures and LV end-diastolic volumes were measured at baseline, during decreased cardiac filling with lower-body negative pressure, and increased filling with saline infusion. LV compliance was assessed by the slope of the pressure-volume curve. Before training, &OV0312;o2max, LV mass, LV end-diastolic volume, and stroke volume were significantly smaller and the LV was less compliant in sedentary seniors than Masters athletes. One year of exercise training had little effect on cardiac compliance. However, it reduced arterial elastance and improved &OV0312;o2max by 19% (22.8±3.4 versus 27.2±4.3 mL/kg/mL; P<0.001). LV mass increased (10%, 64.5±7.9 versus 71.2±12.3 g/m; P=0.037) with no change in the mass-volume ratio. Conclusions: Although 1 year of vigorous exercise training did not appear to favorably reverse cardiac stiffening in sedentary seniors, it nonetheless induced physiological LV remodeling and imparted favorable effects on arterial function and aerobic exercise capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1797-1805
Number of pages9
Issue number18
StatePublished - Nov 2 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • aging
  • diastole
  • exercise
  • heart diseases
  • hemodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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