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Mary O. Whipple, Erica N. Schorr, Kristine M.C. Talley, Ruth Lindquist, Ulf G. Bronas and Diane Treat-Jacobson

Although a plethora of evidence supports the benefits of exercise among older adults, a majority of studies have emphasized group differences, while giving little, if any, attention to individual differences. Given the lack of data on variability in response, the present review examined how nonresponse to aerobic exercise has been defined in older adult populations and characteristics associated with nonresponse among older adults. The results of this review suggest that interindividual variability in response of maximal oxygen consumption to aerobic exercise interventions is prevalent among older adults (1.4–63.4%); age, sex, race, and body mass index may not be critical determinants of nonresponse; whereas health status, baseline fitness, and exercise dose appear important. Future intervention studies should evaluate and report the variability in individual response of older adults to exercise; investigators should develop programs that allow for modification of components to assist older adults in achieving optimal benefit from exercise programs.