Exercise training suppresses cardiovascular risk factors by improving lipid/glucose metabolism, insulin resistance and hypertension. There is an optimum amount and intensity of exercise that will suppress each risk factor, although limited information is currently available on this area. For instance, the level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol seems to be dependent more on the amount than on the intensity of exercise training; the situation with exercise-induced suppression of triglyceride levels is less clear. It is notable that the ability of mild intensity or a low amount of exercise to suppress or prevent cardiovascular risk factors is largely unknown. This knowledge is essential for prescribing safe and effective exercise training to elderly people. At the same time, very few studies on the associations between cardiovascular risk factors in response to exercise can be found. For example, improvement in lipid metabolism or insulin resistance seems to be related to the weight loss seen during exercise training but weight-independent effects could also be observed. The optimal intensity and amount of exercise training for each cardiovascular risk factor and the relationships between the effects of exercise training on each risk factor need to be clarified in the near future in order to establish guidelines that can be applied to the majority of elderly people at risk of cardiovascular diseases.
2006 Japan Society of Physical Education, Health and Sport Sciences