SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of intensity controlled exercise on the aerobic capacity of overweight, middle-aged women. Thirty-eight moderately overweight women, ages 35–57, participated in a 16-week dance-exercise program. Random assignment was made to an experimental group (n = 20) in which intensity of exercise was controlled and prescribed, and a control group (n = 18) in which exercise was of an intensity typical to commercial aerobic classes. Prior to the onset of training, and at the completion of 16 weeks, the following fitness tests were administered: Aerobic capacity expressed as VO2 max, body composition analysis, blood chemistry, blood pressure, resting heart rate, muscular endurance, and flexibility. T-tests, ANCOVA, and gain-score analyses were utilized to evaluate data. Both groups showed small changes in weight, percent fat, resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure, resting heart rate, high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), muscular endurance, and flexibility, but these changes were statistically nonsignificant. The VO2 max for the experimental group increased 41%, while the VO2 max for the control group increased 22% (p < 0.05). The results suggest that the cardiovascular fitness changes for overweight, middle-aged women are greater when exercise intensity and progression are tailored to their age and fitness level.