The effect of a light-moderate versus hard exercise intensity on health and fitness benefits
The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of a light-moderate versus hard exercise intensity on health and fitness benefits in a previously sedentary population. Twenty-six subjects, 17 male (mean age 45 + 3 yrs), 9 female (mean age 48 + 3 yrs) with at least one coronary artery disease risk factor volunteered to participate in this study. Subjects underwent laboratory testing comprising of, resting heart rate and blood pressure, body composition, blood lipid analysis and aerobic capacity (V02 ), prior to and 22-32 weeks after participating > 2 days per week in the Adult Physical Fitness Program (APFP) at Ball State University. After an initial exercise prescription subjects self selected an exercise intensity between 40-80% of their maximal heart rate range (MHRR) at which to train. Subjects were then grouped into those who trained at < 60% (light-moderate) and those who trained at > 60% (hard) of their MHRR.Those that self selected a hard training intensity did show a significantly greater decrease in diastolic blood pressure than the light-moderate intensity group. Subjects received a main training effect with a mean decrease in systolic blood pressure (123 ± 2.8 to 119 ± 2.4 mmHg), diastolic blood pressure (78 ± 2.2 to 75 ± 1.7 mmHg), and mean increases for HDL-cholesterol (49 ± 2.5 to 53 ± 2.8 mg/dL), absolute functional capacity (2.676 +.162 to 2.843 +.169 L/min) and relative functional capacity (30.2 ± 1.5 to 32.8 + 1.8 ml/kg/min). In conclusion this study demonstrated health and fitness benefits when training at least 2 days per week with greater effects when training at a hard versus light-moderate intensity with regards to diastolic blood pressure.