Research Alert

Inactive older adults are at greater risk of having stiff arteries and high blood pressure. Although regular exercise can help reduce these poor health outcomes, what type of exercise is best? Researchers from Nova Scotia, Canada compared how six weeks (three days per week) of either continuous moderate-intensity cycling, high-intensity (sprint) interval cycling or whole-body weight training affected aerobic fitness and the health of arm and leg arteries of older adults (average age 67 years) with relatively normal blood pressure. All three training programs increased aerobic fitness. High-intensity interval training had the greatest overall benefit on artery health (assessed by blood flow and the artery’s ability to dilate), especially in the arm, while weight training did not enhance artery health. These results suggest that, if high-intensity interval training is regularly used by older adults, it may help prevent the development of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. However, similar research employing longer training periods and in higher-risk is still needed.

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