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Effects of Combined Aerobic and Progressive Resistance Training in Australian War Veterans and Their Spouses: A Randomized Control Trial

Climstein, M., Naughton, G., Crendal. & McDonald, T., 2009

Australian Conference of Science & Medicine in Sport, Brisbane Australia

ABSTRACT

Background: A number of Australian Veteran cohort studies have reported Australian war veterans to have an increased incidence of major chronic diseases. Limited research is available which has investigated the effectiveness of exercise (aerobic or progressive resistance training) in this population.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of combined aerobic and progressive resistance training exercise in parameters of health and fitness in Australia war veterans and their spouses.

Methods: 30 volunteers (15 males and 15 females , mean age 80.6yrs, range 69 to 91yrs) who resided at a returned serviceman league village (NSW) volunteered to participate in the study. Subjects medical history was extensive and diverse and included fractures (53%), HTN (66%), dyslipidemia (47%), CVA (7%), CVD (20%), diabetes (10%) and other chronic illnesses (50%). Subjects were randomized into 2 groups: an exercise group which completed 16 weeks supervised combined aerobic and PRT training 2 days per week whereas controls only participated in health-related lectures. Aerobic capacity was assessed via a 6min walk test with muscular strength assessed via 1RM testing for upper body (chest press) and lower body (leg press). T-tests (two-sample, unequal variance) were used to test for statistical significance, alpa was set a priori at 0.05.

Results: There were no significant differences in baseline data between groups (age, weight, 6min walk, 1RM chest press, 1RM leg press). Compliance in the exercise group was higher at 81.7% (range 38 to 100%) as compared to controls at 68.8% (range 0 to 100%). The exercise group had significantly (p<0.02) increased their 1RM chest press strength and leg press strength over the 16 weeks as compared to controls. Additionally, the exercise group significantly increased their chest press training loads by 85.2% and leg press training loads by 85.5% over the 16-week period. There was no significant difference between groups with regard to 6min walk performance (exercise +4.8% vs controls – 5.1%) despite a significant increase in the exercise group aerobic training load (watts, + 49.1%).

Conclusions: Despite temporary setbacks attributed to either musculoskeletal limitations and/or health related issues, Australian war veterans and their spouses were able to complete the training regime and resulted in improved lower body strength, upper body strength, and aerobic training loads with no adverse effects. The long-term benefits of combined aerobic and progressive resistance training exercise in parameters of health and fitness are yet to be established in this population.

CITATION Climstein, M.. Naughton, G., Crendal, E. McDonald, T. (2009) Effects of Combined Aerobic and Progressive Resistance Training in Australian War Veterans and Their Spouses: A Randomized Control Trial. Australian Conference of Science & Medicine in Sport, 14-17 October, Brisbane

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