Article Title



A. Wolfe & C. Backhaus
Hamline University, St. Paul, MN

More than one third of adults in the United States have elevated cholesterol levels and are at risk for developing cardiovascular disease. To lower cholesterol, a class of drugs called statins is commonly prescribed. Statins are effective in lowering cholesterol, but not without side effects. Between 5-22% of statin users report musculoskeletal pain, and histological evidence of skeletal muscle abnormalities exists. Consequently, statin use can lead to exercise intolerance. It is unclear if this effect is more pronounced in those who exercise regularly, such as Masters athletes, or in sedentary individuals. PURPOSE: This study aimed to compare cardiorespiratory fitness, endurance, and substrate metabolism in Masters swimmers who were taking statins (S) or not taking statins (NS). METHODS: 16 participants (S: 64.9±2.4 y, 5 males, 2 females; NS: 62.7±2.0 y, 6 males, 3 females) engaged in separate testing sessions. In session 1, fasted blood lipids, glucose, and triglycerides were measured. Resting ECG and Respiratory Exchange Ratio (RER) measurement was also performed. In session 2, a VO2peak treadmill test was performed using a modified Balke protocol. Lactate measures were taken before and after exercise, and heart rate (HR) and Rating of Perceived Exhaustion (RPE) were monitored. Continuous variables were analyzed with independent one-tail t-tests and ordinal variables with a Mann- Whitney U test. Effect sizes (Cohen’s d, r) were also calculated. RESULTS: Treadmill time (S: 20.62±1.93 min, NS: 23.72±0.93 min, p=0.086, d=0.77, r=0.36) trended towards significance, with a large effect size. Lactate, RER, VO2peak, HR, and RPE were not significantly different between groups. However, RER had a large effect size (d=0.71, r=0.35), while VO2peak, RPE, and HR had medium effect sizes. CONCLUSION: While no differences in VO2peak were found, the NS group tended to have greater treadmill endurance. Statin therapy may not significantly inhibit peak oxygen consumption, leg exercise endurance, nor fasting RER. However, based on the moderate to large effect sizes, more research is warranted to investigate differences between statin and non-statin users. It is possible that training status and mode of exercise of Masters swimmers has a protective effect against statin-induced muscle dysfunction.

NACSM Professional Sponsor: Lisa Ferguson-Stegall PhD

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