Chronic effects of two different exercise environments on self-chosen intensity and physiological adaptations were examined in postmenopausal women. Twenty-three healthy to overweight (body mass index [BMI] 22–29 kg/m2) postmenopausal women performed three weekly training sessions during 12 weeks and were assigned to either: (1) indoor training or (2) outdoor training. Body composition, metabolic profile, and physical fitness (including Vo2max, maximal strength, and endurance) were assessed pre- and postintervention. Exercise intensity was measured every week during the training. Maximum intensity decreased significantly in time only in outdoor training (p ≤ .05). Body composition and VO2max were significantly improved indoors (p ≤ .05), whereas resting blood pressure and upper body maximal strength and endurance were improved outdoors (p ≤ .05). Indoor training is associated with maintaining intensity over time and slightly higher physiological improvements than outdoor training. However, outdoor training seems promising from a long-term perspective, due to its positive effects on health parameters and exercise adherence.
Lacharité-Lemieux is with the Faculty of Physical Activity Sciences, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Canada. Dionne is with the Faculty of Physical Activity Sciences, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Canada; and the Research Center on Aging—Health and Social Services Center, University Institute of Geriatrics of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Canada.