Combined Resistive-Aerobic Training in Older Patients With Coronary Artery Disease Early After Myocardial Infarction

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Background and Purpose.

Older patients with artery disease have higher rates of disability than younger coronary patients, partly based on lower levels of skeletal muscle strength. We compared the effect of a combined resistive-aerobic training program on muscular strength in older and younger coronary patients early after myocardial infarction.


The study population included 45 patients who had recently (4-12 weeks) suffered a myocardial infarction; 19 were age ≥ 62 years (mean 68 ± 3 years) and 25 were <60 years of age (mean 48 ± 7 years). Muscle strength was measured by single repetition maximum lifts for leg extension and bench press, before and after the 12-week conditioning program. Body composition was measured in a subset of 16 patients by dual x-ray absorptiometry.


At baseline, the older population demonstrated lower strength measures than the younger patients. With conditioning, both groups improved strength similarly with leg-extension and bench press measures increasing by 35% and 14% respectively in the older patients and 39% and 14% in the younger patients (both P < 0.05, NS between groups). Within the older patient group, the men were significantly stronger than the women at baseline yet the women tended to improve their strength measures to a greater degree than the men, increasing leg strength by 66% and bench press by 29% versus 29% and 10% in older men (P < 0.10 between groups). In the overall study population, body composition measures showed a slight decrease in body weight, a decrease in fat mass, and a maintenance of lean body mass and bone mineral content with no difference in response between older and younger patients.


Older coronary patients can effectively increase body strength with a combined resistive-aerobic exercise program in the early post-myocardial infarction period.

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