There is evidence that multiple benefits can be obtained through exercise training that leads to increases in peak oxygen consumption (O2). It is unclear whether significant improvements can also be achieved through unsupervised low-budget home-based training regimes, especially in terms of cardiac functional gains. A randomized cross-over trial was conducted to investigate the effects of a home-based unsupervised exercise training programme of moderate intensity on aerobic capacity, cardiac reserve and peak cardiac power output in healthy middle-aged volunteers. Nine subjects with no known cardiovascular diseases performed symptom-limited treadmill cardiopulmonary exercise tests after an 8-week period of exercise training, and results were compared with those obtained after a similar ‘non-exercising’ control period. Cardiac output was measured non-invasively during exercise tests using the CO2-rebreathing method. With exercise training, resting heart rate decreased significantly from 88.3±3.4 to 78.7±3.2beatsċmin-1 (P < 0.05), heart rate at a submaximal workload (O2 = 1.5litresċmin-1) decreased from 125.5±2.4 to 115.5±1.6beatsċmin-1, and peak O2 increased by 9% from 2.62±0.19 to 2.85±0.18litresċmin-1 (P < 0.01). Baseline cardiac power output was 1.11±0.05W, and this remained unchanged with training. Peak cardiac power output increased by 16% from 4.1±0.3 to 4.7±0.3W (P < 0.001), and cardiac reserve increased by 21% (P < 0.01). A major contribution to these increases was from the 11% increase in stroke volume, from 100.1±5.3 to 111.2±6.2ml (P < 0.001). All subjects reported more positive perceptions of their health (P < 0.05), fitness (P < 0.01) and levels of activity (P < 0.01) after the training period. These results show that motivated subjects undergoing low-budget unsupervised home-based exercise training of moderate intensity can derive benefit in terms of symptoms, aerobic capacity and cardiac functional reserve.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.