Time-efficient physical training for enhancing cardiovascular function in midlife and older adults: promise and current research gaps

Daniel H. Craighead, Thomas C. Heinbockel, Makinzie N. Hamilton, E. Fiona Bailey, Maureen J. MacDonald, Martin J. Gibala, Douglas R. Seals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) remain the leading cause of death in developed societies, and "midlife" (50-64 yr) and older (65+) men and women bear the great majority of the burden of CVD. Much of the increased risk of CVD in this population is attributable to CV dysfunction, including adverse changes in the structure and function of the heart, increased systolic blood pressure, and arterial dysfunction. The latter is characterized by increased arterial stiffness and vascular endothelial dysfunction. Conventional aerobic exercise training, as generally recommended in public health guidelines, is an effective strategy to preserve or improve CV function with aging. However, <40% of midlife and older adults meet aerobic exercise guidelines, due in part to time availability-related barriers. As such, there is a need to develop evidence-based time-efficient exercise interventions that promote adherence and optimize CV function in these groups. Two promising interventions that may meet these criteria are interval training and inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST). Limited research suggests these modes of training may improve CV function with time commitments of ≤60 min/wk. This review will summarize the current evidence for interval training and IMST to improve CV function in midlife/older adults and identify key research gaps and future directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1427-1440
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985)
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019



  • aging
  • inspiratory muscle strength training
  • interval training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

Cite this