Responses to endurance training have been examined in 14 men and 28 women aged
60-83 years. Subjects allocated themselves to one of four categories, distinguished on attendance (low frequency, LF, less than two 1 hr sessions per week, high frequency, HF, more than two 1 hr sessions per week) and intensity of training (low intensity, LI, heart rate of 120-130 beats/min maximum; high intensity, HI, heart rate 140-150 beats/min maximum). The LF LI group were initially less fit (lower maximum oxygen intake
max, larger excess weight and thicker skinfolds) than the other three categories. Bicycle ergometer predictions of V̇o2
max were made initially, and after 7, 14, and 52 weeks of training. In percentage terms, the final gain of 24% compared favourably with that seen in younger individuals. Most of the improvement occurred over the first 7 weeks of training. The largest (29%) and most rapid gains were registered by the HF HI group. The LF HI group made more modest gains in the first 7 weeks, with little subsequent improvement. The HF LI group made small but significant gains in both the first and the second 7 week periods, while the LF LI group showed no change of predicted V̇o2
max. Direct treadmill measurements of V̇o2
max were made at 7, 14, 21 and 52 weeks. There was a 5% gain of treadmill V̇o2
max from week 7 to week 21, compared with the 1-2% change in bicycle ergometer data from week 7 to 14 and 14 to 52. Further evidence suggesting an early training of responses to submaximal loads with later improvement of response to maximum effort was obtained from determinations of PWC130
. Other evidence of successful training included a faster recovery of the heart rate following submaximal exercise, and an increase in the distance covered in a 12 minute walk/run.