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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #348931

Research Project: Sarcopenia, Nutrition, and Physical Activity

Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: Physical activity and resting pulse rate in older adults: findings from a randomized controlled trial

Author
item O Hartaigh, Briain - YALE UNIVERSITY
item Pahor, Marco - UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
item Buford, Thomas - UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
item Dodson, John - NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
item Forman, Daniel - UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH
item Gill, Thomas - YALE UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: American Heart Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/2/2014
Publication Date: 10/3/2014
Citation: O Hartaigh, B., Pahor, M., Buford, T.W., Dodson, J.A., Forman, D.E., Gill, T. 2014. Physical activity and resting pulse rate in older adults: findings from a randomized controlled trial. American Heart Journal. 168(4):597-604. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ahj.2014.07.024.

Interpretive Summary: Elevated resting pulse rate (RPR) is a well-recognized risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease and death. We set out to evaluate the helpfulness of a physical activity (PA) intervention for slowing RPR among older adults. A total of 424 seniors (ages 70-89 years) were assigned at random to a moderate intensity PA intervention or an education-based "successful aging" (SA) education program. RPR was assessed at baseline, 6 months and 12 months. In both groups, RPR remained unchanged over the course of the 12-month study period. Comparable results were found after omitting participants with a pacemaker, cardiac arrhythmia, or who were receiving medications that slow RPR. These data suggest that a structured PA program in older adults did not affect RPR.

Technical Abstract: Background: Elevated resting pulse rate (RPR) is a well-recognized risk factor for adverse outcomes. Epidemiological evidence supports the beneficial effects of regular exercise for lowering RPR, but studies are mainly confined to persons younger than 65 years. We set out to evaluate the utility of a physical activity (PA) intervention for slowing RPR among older adults. Methods: A total of 424 seniors (ages 70-89 years) were randomized to a moderate intensity PA intervention or an education-based "successful aging" (SA) health program. Resting pulse rate was assessed at baseline, 6 months and 12 months. Longitudinal differences in RPR were evaluated between treatment groups using generalized estimating equation models, reporting unstandardized beta coefficients with robust standard errors (SE). Results: Increased frequency and duration of aerobic training were observed for the PA group at 6 and 12 months as compared with the successful aging group (P < .001). In both groups, RPR remained unchanged over the course of the 12-month study period (P=0.67). No significant improvement was observed (beta [SE] = 0.58 [0.88]; P = 0.51) for RPR when treatment groups were compared using the GEE method. Comparable results were found after omitting participants with a pacemaker, cardiac arrhythmia, or who were receiving beta-blockers. Conclusions: Twelve months of moderate intensity aerobic training did not improve RPR among older adults. Additional studies are needed to determine whether PA of longer duration and/or greater intensity can slow RPR in older persons.