Date of Award

Summer 2007

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Human Movement Sciences


Physical Education

Committee Director

David Swain

Committee Member

Robert Spina

Committee Member

Elizabeth Dowling


The AGSM recommends 20 to 60 minutes of continuous or intermittent activity 3 to 5 times per week to maintain cardio respiratory fitness (Pollock et al., 1998). The 1996 Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health indicates that Americans are not meeting these physical activity recommendations (DHHS). Several clear consequences of physical inactivity are the appearance of cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia and obesity. Two recent review articles suggested that higher intensity exercise will elicit a greater reduction in cardiovascular disease risk factors (Swain and Franklin, 2002; Swain and Franklin, 2006). In order to determine whether various exercise intensities differentially affect resting heart rate, resting blood pressure and aerobic capacity, college-aged males and females were recruited for this study. Sixty-one healthy subjects were matched for age, gender, and VO2max and randomly assigned to a moderate-intensity, vigorous-intensity, maximal-intensity or a non-exercising control group. The weekly duration of training varied in opposition to the intensity to ensure there was equivalent energy expenditure across all groups. Subjects completed a six-week training protocol on a stationary bicycle ergometer. After training, VO2max significantly increased across all exercising groups (P < 0.05). The maximal-intensity group had the greatest increase of 7.2 ml·min1·kg-1, followed by an increase of 4.8 ml·min 1·kg-1 in the vigorous-intensity group and an increase of 3.4 ml·min1·kg-1 in the moderate-intensity group. Percent increases in the moderate (10.0%), vigorous (14.3%) and maximal-intensity (20.6%) groups were all significantly different from each other. There were no significant changes in resting heart rate or resting blood pressure following training. The results indicate that when energy expenditure is controlled, higher intensities of exercise are more effective for improving VO2max than lower intensities of exercise in healthy, young, college-aged students.


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