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Serina A. Neumann, Jessica R.P. Brown, Shari R. Waldstein and Leslie I. Katzel

Silent myocardial ischemia (SI) has been linked to increased risk of future coronary events. Enhanced systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP and DBP, respectively) and heart-rate (HR) reactions to stress (cardiovascular reactivity [CVR]) have been associated with greater severity of SI and are related prospectively to coronary-artery-disease endpoints. The authors examined the potential attenuating effects of 6 months of walking (aerobic exercise) versus control on CVR to three laboratory stressors in 25 older adults with exercise-induced SI. Maximal aerobic capacity was significantly improved by 12% for the exercise group and decreased by 8% for controls (p < .001). Groups had similar biomedical profiles pre- and postintervention. Walkers had significantly reduced DBP reactivity (pre, 12 ± 2; post, 4 ± 2 mm Hg) compared with controls (pre, 10 ± 2; post, 11 ± 2 mm Hg; p = .05), but no differences between groups were found for SBP or HR reactivity. These findings are the first to suggest that increased physical activity (via walking) can attenuate BP reactivity to emotional stressors in apparently healthy older adults with SI.

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Odessa Addison, Monica C. Serra, Leslie Katzel, Jamie Giffuni, Cathy C. Lee, Steven Castle, Willy M. Valencia, Teresa Kopp, Heather Cammarata, Michelle McDonald, Kris A. Oursler, Chani Jain, Janet Prvu Bettger, Megan Pearson, Kenneth M. Manning, Orna Intrator, Peter Veazie, Richard Sloane, Jiejin Li and Miriam C. Morey

Veterans represent a unique population of older adults, as they are more likely to self-report a disability and be overweight or obese compared with the general population. We sought to compare changes in mobility function across the obesity spectrum in older veterans participating in 6 months of Gerofit, a clinical exercise program. A total of 270 veterans (mean age: 74 years) completed baseline, 3-, and 6-month mobility assessments and were divided post hoc into groups: normal weight, overweight, and obese. The mobility assessments included 10-m walk time, 6-min walk distance, 30-s chair stands, and 8-foot up-and-go time. No significant weight × time interactions were found for any measure. However, clinically significant improvements of 7–20% were found for all mobility measures from baseline to 3 months and maintained at 6 months (all ps < .05). Six months of participation in Gerofit, if enacted nationwide, appears to be one way to improve mobility in older veterans at high risk for disability, regardless of weight status.