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Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences

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Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) declines with advancing age and is a predictor of morbidity and mortality risk. The purpose here was to assess the utility of constant load tests performed either above or below peak work rate obtained from a graded exercise test for verification of VO2max in older adults. Twenty-two healthy older adults (9M, 13F, 67 ± 6 years, BMI: 26.3 ± 5.1 kg·m−2) participated in the study. Participants were asked to complete two experimental trials in a randomized, counterbalanced cross-over design. Both trials (cycle ergometer) consisted of (1) an identical graded exercise test (ramp) and (2) a constant load test at either 85% (CL85; n = 22) or 110% (CL110; n = 20) of the peak work rate achieved during the associated ramp (performed 10-min post ramp). No significant differences were observed for peak VO2 (L·min−1) between CL85 (1.86 ± 0.72; p = 0.679) or CL110 (1.79 ± 0.73; p = 0.200) and the associated ramp (Ramp85, 1.85 ± 0.73; Ramp110, 1.85 ± 0.57). Using the study participant's mean coefficient of variation in peak VO2 between the two identical ramp tests (2.9%) to compare individual differences between constant load tests and the associated ramp revealed 19/22 (86%) of participants achieved a peak VO2 during CL85 that was similar or higher versus the ramp, while only 13/20 (65%) of participants achieved a peak VO2 during CL110 that was similar or higher versus the ramp. These data indicate that if a verification of VO2max is warranted when testing older adults, a constant load effort at 85% of ramp peak power may be more likely to verify VO2max as compared to an effort at 110% of ramp peak power.


This article was originally published Open Access in Physiological Reports. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Physiological Reports

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