Endurance exercise training improves body composition and plasma insulin responses in 70- to 79-year-old men and women

Metabolism. 1994 Jul;43(7):847-54. doi: 10.1016/0026-0495(94)90265-8.


Forty-two men and women aged 70 to 79 years were studied to assess the effects of 6 months of endurance or resistance training and subsequent cessation of training on glucose tolerance, plasma insulin responses, serum triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and plasma dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels. The endurance training group (n = 16) exercised at 75% to 85% heart rate reserve for 35 to 45 minutes three times per week; the resistance training group (n = 17) completed one set of eight to 12 repetitions on 10 Nautilus machines three times per week. No significant changes in any variables occurred in a control group (n = 9). Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) increased by 20% with endurance training, but did not change with resistance training. Upper- and lower-body strength increased in the resistance training group, but did not change with endurance training. Neither group changed their body weight with training, but the endurance training group elicited a significant reduction in their sum of seven skinfolds and percent body fat. Neither group altered their glucose tolerance with training; however, the endurance training group had lower plasma insulin responses after training compared with the other two groups. Serum lipid and plasma DHEA levels did not change in either the endurance or resistance training groups. Ten days of no exercise following training did not significantly alter body weight or composition, glucose tolerance, plasma insulin responses, or plasma DHEA levels in either the endurance training (n = 10) or resistance training (n = 14) group.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Composition*
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Male
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Physical Endurance*


  • Insulin