Maximal fitness testing in sedentary elderly at substantial risk of disability: LIFE-P study experience

T S Church, T M Gill, A B Newman, S N Blair, Conrad P Earnest, M Pahor

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17 Citations (SciVal)


BACKGROUND: The authors sought to evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of maximal fitness testing in sedentary older individuals at risk for mobility disability.

METHODS: Maximal cycle-ergometer testing was performed at baseline and 6 and 12 months later in a subset of LIFE-P study participants at the Cooper Institute site. The mean age of the 20 participants (80% female) tested was 74.7 +/- 3.4 years. The following criteria were used to determine whether participants achieved maximal effort: respiratory-exchange ratio (RER) > 1.1, heart rate within 10 beats/min of the maximal level predicted by age, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) > 17.

RESULTS: Participants' mean peak VO2 was 12.1 (3.7) mL . kg-1 . min-1. At baseline testing, only 20% of participants attained an RER > 1.10, only 35% achieved a peak heart rate within 10 beats of their age-predicted maximum, and 18% had an RPE of > 17. Subsequent testing at 6 and 12 months produced similar results.

CONCLUSIONS: In this pilot study of sedentary older persons at risk for mobility disability, very few participants were able to achieve maximal effort during graded cycle-ergometer testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-415
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Aging and Physical Activity
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


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