This paper reports on fitness changes in sedentary, obese (M BMI = 32.0 kg/m2), 60- to 70-year-old women following 4 months of exercise-based intervention. One hundred eighty-two women were randomly assigned to the following groups: health and fitness education (ED) (n = 70), health and fitness education combined with aerobic training (EX) (n = 76), and control (CO) (n = 36). Pre- and postintervention assessments included predicted VO2max, body composition, resting blood pressure, muscular strength, and flexibility. Significant improvements in aerobic power (31.9%, p < .001), percent body fat (−5.4%, p < .05), and dominant hand-grip strength (4.1%, p < .001) were found in EX compared to ED and CO. Also observed was a significant improvement in flexibility for both EX (13.8%) and ED (12.5%, p < .01) compared to CO. Ninety percent (n = 164) of the women adhered to the program. Program factors contributing to adherence are discussed.
Patricia A. Gillett is with the College of Nursing, University of Utah, 25 S. Medical Dr., Salt Lake City, UT 84112. Andrea T. White is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Utah. Michael S. Caserta is with the Gerontology Center, University of Utah.