NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Aerobic and strength training improve overall fitness and quality of life for older women with coronary artery disease, the results of a small Canadian study suggest.
Such women are known to experience a loss of physical fitness and quality of life, Dr. Mark Haykowsky and colleagues from the University of Alberta in Edmonton point out in the medical journal Chest.
“Exercise interventions that can improve peak aerobic power and muscle strength may also result in an improvement in quality of life,” they write.
To further investigate this premise, Haykowsky’s group compared the effect of aerobic training, or combined aerobic and strength training, on physical performance and quality of life in 18 women between the ages of 60 and 80 with coronary disease.
After baseline testing, the subjects were assigned randomly to the two exercise groups. Each group exercised three days/week for eight weeks.
Both aerobic training and combined aerobic and strength training produced similar increases in the women’s peak aerobic power, the distance they were able to walk in 6 minutes, leg strength, and emotional and global quality of life.
However, upper-body strength, and physical and social quality of life were improved only among women in the combined aerobic and strength training group.
Based on these findings, the researchers conclude, “Older women who participate in a cardiac exercise rehabilitation program should perform aerobic training and strength training to attain optimal improvements in overall physical fitness and quality of life.”