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UF study shows strength training improves aerobic power in seniors

GAINESVILLE, Fla.For healthy older men and women, strength training not only firms muscles, but also significantly improves physical endurance and aerobic power, which can help prevent or delay a number of diseases including heart disease, according to a University of Florida study.

Most exercise regimens focus on aerobic or endurance exercisesuch as walking, jogging and riding a bicycleto boost cardiovascular conditioning. The UF researchers say their findings are the first to demonstrate improved aerobic capacity in healthy elderly adults following both low- and high-resistance exercise training programs. The study is published in the March issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine.

"Strength training is not typically viewed as a means for improving cardiovascular and respiratory performance. Weve crossed over and have shown that muscle resistance exercise may be another valid means of increasing cardio-respiratory endurance in older adults," said Kevin Vincent, the studys principal investigator. Vincent, who designed and led the study while earning his doctorate in exercise physiology at UF, conducted the study with researchers from UFs colleges of Medicine, and Health and Human Performance. He also is a third-year medical student at UFs College of Medicine.

"Reduced cardiovascular and respiratory fitness is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension and death," Vincent said. "Strength training isnt just for helping you look good at the beach. These findings indicate that healthy older adults should incorporate resistance weight training into a comprehensive exercise regimen to increase muscular strength, cardio-respiratory endurance and physical function."

Diseases of the heart are the No. 1 killer in the United States, and stroke is the No. 3 killer, according to the American Heart Association.

A surprising result of the UF study of 62 men and women between the ages of 60 and 83 was that the inte
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Contact: Mike Garrison
mgarriso@vpha.health.ufl.edu
352-392-7579
University of Florida
29-Mar-2002


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