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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
Nitric Oxide: Role in Combating Disease

AGING AND CARDIOVASCULAR REGULATION WITH ACUTE AND HABITUAL EXERCISE

Seals, D R. FACSM1

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1University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

This presentation will review our current state of knowledge regarding the effects of aging on the cardiovascular adjustments to acute exercise and adaptations to habitual exercise. The main focus will be on primary (physiological) human aging in the absence of overt chronic disease. Cardiovascular adjustments to acute exercise will be discussed in the context of both maximal and submaximal efforts. Circulatory control during submaximal exercise will be examined under conditions of both brief incremental and prolonged constant work loads. Emphasis will be placed on cardiovascular regulation during large-muscle dynamic modes of exercise, but the adjustments to isometric contractions also will be described. Systemic and regional circulatory control will be considered in an integrative manner. Cardiovascular responses to habitual exercise will focus on adaptations expressed under resting conditions as well as during acute submaximal and maximal exercise. Experimental evidence will be based on the results of both cross-sectional investigations of masters athletes and exercise intervention studies of previously sedentary middle-aged and older adults. Primary emphasis will be on the adaptations to regular aerobic-endurance exercise, but changes in response to resistance exercise training also will be considered. The contributions of neural, humoral and local mechanisms in mediating age-associated differences in the responses to acute and habitual exercise will be discussed.

©2003The American College of Sports Medicine

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