Effects of 16 weeks of resistance training on left ventricular morphology and systolic function in healthy men >60 years of age
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Resistance training (RT) has gained popularity as an effective form of exercise for older adults. However, the effects of RT on left ventricular (LV) morphology and systolic function in older persons is not well known. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of 16 weeks of RT on LV morphology and systolic function in healthy older men. Subjects were randomly assigned into a RT group (n = 10; mean+/- SD age, 68 +/- 3 years) or a nonexercise control group (n = 10; age 68 +/- 4 years). RT was performed 3 times per week for 16 weeks at a mean intensity between 60% and 80% of 1 repetition maximum. Leg and bench press 1 repetition maximum and 2-dimensional echocardiography were performed at baseline and after 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks of training in the RT group. Sixteen weeks of RT was associated with an increase in leg press maximal strength (baseline, 285 +/- 48 kg; after 16 weeks, 367 +/- 47 kg; p <0.05) and bench press maximal strength (baseline, 59 +/- 11 kg; after 16 weeks, 69 +/- 11 kg; p <0.05). No change in leg press maximal strength (baseline, 291 +/- 59 kg; after 16 weeks, 290 +/- 53 kg; p >0.05) or bench press maximal strength (baseline, 60 +/- 9 kg; after 16 weeks, 61 +/- 13 kg; p > .05) was found in control subjects during the same time. RT was not associated with changes in LV cavity size, wall thickness, mass, or systolic function after 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks of exercise. Thus, 16 weeks of RT was sufficient to increase leg press and bench press maximal strength but did not alter the size or systolic function of the senescent left ventricle.