Concurrent exercise programs are necessary to achieve minimal physical activity guidelines for cardiorespiratory fitness and musculoskeletal health, however, only 24% of Americans achieve these goals. Among middle-aged adults, lack of time is often cited as the reason they do not meet the guidelines. PURPOSE: Design a program with minimal exercise time (180 minutes/week) and track middle-aged adults' changes in cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal health over 16 weeks of training. METHODS: Sedentary adults between the ages of 30 and 55 were recruited for this pilot study. Participants completed a training program of 4 days per week of structured workouts for 16 weeks. Two workouts per week were resistance-based following a standard progressive overload model with 10 exercises targeting all major muscle groups. Two workouts per week were endurance-based with participants achieving 60-80% of heart rate reserve for 30-45 minutes. Cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness were assessed at baseline and after 16 weeks of training. Cardiorespiratory fitness was assessed via a graded exercise treadmill test to determine peak oxygen consumption (VO2 peak). A treadmill time to exhaustion (TTE) test was performed 48 hours after the graded exercise test to assess exercise tolerance and endurance performance. Muscle strength was determined by grip strength, isometric knee extension strength, and dynamic, bilateral one-repetition maximum (1RM) strength measures of leg press, knee extension, chest press, and overhead press. RESULTS: Participants’ (n = 12, M/F = 6/6, 41.7± 6.6 years) baseline VO2 peak and TTE (30.6 ± 4.8 ml*kg-1 min-1 and 360 ± 136 seconds) significantly improved after 16 weeks of training (34.1 ± 7.3 ml*kg-1 min-1 and 745 ± 445 seconds). Upper body dynamic strength measures increased by 23%, and lower body dynamic strength measures increased by 55% (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Four days per week of concurrent exercise training for 16 weeks equally split in duration between resistance training and endurance training improves both cardiorespiratory fitness and both upper and lower body strength in middle-aged previously sedentary adults.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.