Twelve normal men performed 1-min incremental exercise tests to exhaustion in approximately 10 min on both treadmill and cycle ergometer. The maximal O2 uptake (VO2 max) and anaerobic threshold (AT) were higher (6 and 13%, respectively) on the treadmill than the cycle; the AT was reached at about 50% of VO2 max on both ergometers. Maximal CO2 output, heart rate, and O2 pulse were also slightly, but significantly higher on the treadmill. Maximal ventilation, gas exchange ratio, and ventilatory equivalents for O2 and CO2 for both forms of exercise were not significantly different. To determine the optimum exercise test for both treadmill and cycle, we exercised five of the subjects at various work rate increments on both ergometers in a randomized design. The treadmill increments were 0.8, 1.7, 2.5, and 4.2%/min at a constant speed of 3.4 mph, and 1.7 and 4.2%/min at 4.5 mph. Cycle increments were 15, 30, and 60 W/min. The VO2 max was significantly higher on tests where the increment magnitude was large enough to induce test durations of 8-17 min, but the AT was independent of test duration. Thus, for evaluating cardiopulmonary function with incremental exercise testing by either treadmill or cycle, we suggest selecting a work rate increment to bring the subject to the limit of his tolerance in about 10 min.

Thus, little is known about the effects of monitored vigorous exercise in elderly people. While significant benefits for basic motor tasks (such as balance and gait) can be achieved through different kinds of physical activity (i.e., stretching exercises, treadmill, Pilates, and strength and balance training), no conclusive relationship has been proven between its intensity and such improvements. Recently, Pau et al. [14] reported that spatiotemporal gait parameters and sit-to-stand performance significantly improve through vigorous (but not light) exercises, thus suggesting that higher levels of intensity might be more suitable in generally improving static and dynamic daily motor tasks.

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