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Lauren Gulka, James Dziura and Loretta DiPietro


Little attention has been paid to the study of transient growth hormone (GH) responses to exercise in older women. We determined the effect of a single bout of exercise on GH in fit and unfit older (age 55 to 81 y; n = 19) and younger (age 18 to 25 y; n = 19) women.


Exercise consisted of five 15-min intervals of treadmill exercise at 75% VO2peak. Blood samples were taken before, during, and following exercise for determination of plasma GH and insulin concentrations.


GH responses to exercise were attenuated in older compared with younger women (P < 0.01); however, these age differences were minimized in older age by fitness level. Adjusted area under the curve for GH was 5.50 and 1.76 µg/L · 102 for fit and unfit older women (P < 0.01), and 8.46 and 8.46 µg/L · 102 for fit and unfit younger women.


Low levels of cardiorespiratory fitness in older women may require a greater relative exercise stimulus to augment meaningful GH responses.