Variability in individual response to aerobic exercise interventions among older adults

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22 Scopus citations


Although a plethora of evidence supports the benefits of exercise among older adults, a majority of studies have emphasized group differences, while giving little, if any, attention to individual differences. Given the lack of data on variability in response, the present review examined how nonresponse to aerobic exercise has been defined in older adult populations and characteristics associated with nonresponse among older adults. The results of this review suggest that interindividual variability in response of maximal oxygen consumption to aerobic exercise interventions is prevalent among older adults (1.4-63.4%); age, sex, race, and body mass index may not be critical determinants of nonresponse; whereas health status, baseline fitness, and exercise dose appear important. Future intervention studies should evaluate and report the variability in individual response of older adults to exercise; investigators should develop programs that allow for modification of components to assist older adults in achieving optimal benefit from exercise programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-670
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Aging and Physical Activity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Ms. Whipple is a 2015–2017 National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE) Patricia G. Archbold Scholar. The Patricia G. Archbold Scholar program is supported by a grant to the Gerontological Society of America (GSA)/NHCGNE from The John A. Hartford Foundation. This publication was made possible by the National Institutes of Health under a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F31NR016614) from the National Institute of Nursing Research. The content is solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.


  • aging
  • heterogeneity
  • nonresponse
  • responsiveness


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