This study compared aerobic, cardiac, and ventilatory changes in 11 premenarcheal girls ages 9–13 years with those of 13 women ages 20–31 during 40 min of steady-load cycling at an intensity of 63% VO2max. Forty-five percent of the girls were cycling above their ventilatory anaerobic threshold, compared to 77% of the women. Between 10 and 40 min of exercise, mean VO2 increased 8.6% (SD = 3.8) and 8.3% (SD = 6.3) in the girls and women, respectively (p > .05), with no significant differences in rise in body temperature. Pattern and magnitude of ventilatory drift (increased VE and respiratory rate with fall in tidal volume) were similar in the two groups. Likewise, the rise in cardiac output and heart rate (with no change in stroke volume) was not significantly different in the two groups. These findings indicate that physiological responses to prolonged aerobic exercise are both quantitatively and qualitatively similar in girls and young women.
Thomas W. Rowland and Tasha A. Rimany are with the Department of Pediatrics, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA 01199.
Editor’s Note. The editor is indebted to Dr. Patty Freedson, who served as guest editor for this article.