Two incremental graded exercise tests until exhaustion were performed, with 4 h of rest in between. One hour before each test, the athletes received a standardised meal (2315 kJ, 73% carbohydrate, 19% protein, 8% fat). Athletes arrived in the laboratory at 07:00 after an overnight fast. The first blood sample was collected as they arrived. Immediately after the first exercise test, the second blood sample was drawn. The third and fourth blood samples were drawn before and immediately after the second test. A schematic overview of the protocol can be found in fig 1. Because it is known that venepuncture increases blood prolactin, going back to baseline within 30 min, blood was drawn before and after each test (four punctures) creating the same “stress” in each situation. The study protocol was approved by the university ethical committee.
The aim of this study was to assess the effects of vigorous exercise on functional abilities by means of a Senior Fitness Test (SFT) in a group of elderly adults. Twenty healthy and inactive people performed vigorous exercise (VE: 12 men and 8 women, aged 69.6 ± 3.9 years). At the beginning of the study (T0) and after 3 months (T1), each subject's functional ability was tested for muscular strength, agility, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, and balance. The VE was designed with continuous and interval exercise involving large muscle activities. Functional exercises were performed between 60% and 84% of heart rate reserve (HRR) for a duration of 65 minutes. Five out of the 6 SFTs performed were found significantly improved: Chair Stand (T0 12.4 ± 2.4, T1 13.5 ± 2.6, p < 0.01), Arm Curl (T0 14.2 ± 3.6, T1 16.6 ± 3.6, p < 0.01), 2 min step (T0 98.2 ± 15.7, T1 108.9 ± 16.2, p < 0.01), Chair Sit-and-Reach (T0 −9.9 ± 7.7 cm, T1 1.7 ± 6.3 cm, p < 0.01), and Back Scratch (T0 −15.8 ± 10.9 cm, T1 −8.4 ± 13.1 cm, p < 0.01). Our results suggest that a high intensity protocol and functional exercises can improve functional mobility and muscle endurance in those over 65 years of age. SFTs are an effective method for assessing improvements in the functional capacity of elderly adults.