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Arch Hellen Med, 31(2), March-April 2014, 191-199


The effect of a 3-year combined exercise program on body composition and lipid profile in elderly women

K.V. Kosmidou,1 H.T. Douda,1 A.I. Eleftheriadou,2 K.A. Volaklis,1 S.P. Tokmakidis1
1Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, Democritus University of Thrace, Komotini,
2Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

OBJECTIVE To evaluate the changes in body composition and lipid profile after a three year systematic program combining aerobic and resistance exercise in healthy elderly women.

METHOD Twenty elderly women were divided into two groups: the exercise group (n=10, age 62.0±5.7 years) and the control group (n=10, age 66.2±5.1 years). The exercise program included 3 sessions a week, each of which lasted 50 minutes and combined strength and aerobic exercise. At the beginning and at the end of each 9-month period anthropometric measurements and biochemical analyses were applied. There was a 3 month suspension of the program each year.

RESULTS After 3 years of the intervention program, significant differences were recorded between the exercise group and the control group in body mass (p<0.01), body mass index (BMI) (p<0.05), body fat (p<0.01) and blood levels of fasting glucose (p<0.001), total cholesterol (p<0.05) and high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (p<0.01). Each year, after 9 months of intervention, the exercise group presented significantly lower values in obesity indices (p<0.05), fasting blood glucose (p<0.001) and total cholesterol (p<0.001) and higher values in HDL-C (p<0.05) than the control group. These positive adaptations, however, were reversed during detraining (p<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS Nine months of annual training for a 3-year period induced positive adaptations in body composition and lipid profile in elderly women. Three months of detraining, reversed the favorable adaptations, highlighting the importance of regular exercise in maintaining the positive results beneficial to health.

Key words: Aerobic exercise, Aging, BMI, Lipids, Strength training.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine