Joseph A. Franciosa, M.D., a pharmaceutical industry consultant who was not connected with this study, said it is a very well done study comparing exercise capacity and exercise efficiency in healthy subjects.
"Since these are otherwise healthy subjects, this age-related difference probably reflects a degree of physical deconditioning as people become less physically active with aging. The same thing is observed in a number of disease states and it is unclear if these changes are due to something specific to the underlying disease or if they simply reflect deconditioning due to reduced physical activity imposed by the disease," Dr. Franciosa said.
He said the improvement seen in older subjects after exercising is important.
"The practical significance of this is that elderly people should not be afraid to exercise, which is good for them. If they are otherwise in good health, they should remain physically active and not "slow down" just because of age. If they have medical problems, exercise can still be of considerable value, but this should be undertaken only under a physician's supervision," he said.
Bernard Chaitman, M.D., F.A.C.C., from the St. Louis University School of Medicine, who also was not connected with this study, said the results and the way the study was done help shed light on how training benefits older people.
"Although the study design was cross-sectional, and did not contain middle-aged or very elderly subjects, the data clearly show that improved oxygen efficiency contributes to the improvement in exercise capacity after training in older subjects. Physicians should encourage their older patients to exercise on a regular bas
Contact: Amy Murphy
American College of Cardiology