Objective: The objective of this study was to determine whether 16 weeks of resistance training (RT) can reduce the blood pressure response and improve the cardiovascular function of men aged 70–80 years during submaximum aerobic exercise.
Methods: Twenty-four men aged between 70 and 80 years were randomly assigned to an RT group (n = 12) and control group (n = 12). Training consisted of three sets of six to 10 repetitions at 70–90% of one repetition maximum, three times per week, on an incline squat machine for 16 weeks. Blood pressure and cardiovascular function were assessed during submaximum cycle exercise at 40 W, and 50 and 70% of maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max) before training and after 16 weeks of training. Leg strength and VO2max were assessed every 4 weeks of the 16-week study.
Results: At 40 W, heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and rate pressure product were lower and stroke volume was significantly higher after 16 weeks of training. At 50% VO2max, heart rate and rate pressure product were lower after 16 weeks of training and at 70% VO2max, cycle ergometry power, VO2, and arterio-venous oxygen difference were higher after 16 weeks of training. Leg strength significantly increased after 16 weeks of training.
Conclusion: Sixteen weeks of RT significantly reduces the blood pressure response and improves the cardiovascular function of older men during submaximum aerobic exercise. Therefore, RT not only increases muscular strength and hypertrophy but also provides significant cardiovascular benefits for older individuals.