Background: Older women with coronary artery disease (CAD) have reduced peak aerobic power (V̇o2peak), muscle strength, and quality of life (QOL). Exercise interventions that can improve V̇o2peak and muscle strength may also result in an improvement in QOL. This study compared the effect of aerobic training (AT) or combined aerobic and strength training (COMT) on V̇o2peak, distance walked in 6 min, upper- and lower-extremity maximal strength, and QOL in 18 women (age range, 60 to 80 years) with documented CAD.
Methods: After baseline testing, subjects were randomly assigned to AT (treadmill and cycle exercise, n = 9) or COMT (treadmill and cycle exercise plus upper- and lower-extremity strength training, n = 9), and each group exercised 3 d/wk for 8 weeks.
Results: Both AT and COMT resulted in a similar increase in V̇o2peak, distance walked in 6 min, lower-extremity strength, and emotional and global QOL. COMT improved upper-extremity strength, and physical and social QOL, which was unchanged after AT.
Conclusions: Older women with CAD should perform aerobic and strength training to attain optimal improvements in overall physical fitness and QOL.