This study investigated the effect of a 12-week exercise programme consisting of jogging, calistnenics, and recreational activities on the cardiorespiratory function and body composition of 15 young and 15 middle-aged nonobese women 21-32 and 34-57 years, respectively. The exercise programme was 3 days per week for an average of 45 minutes each session. Pre- and post-programme data were obtained on: age, height, total body weight, resting heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, vital capacity, submaximal heart rate, supra-iliac skinfold, thigh skinfold, waist girth, cup size, body density, and percent fat. The t-test was used to test the difference between the young and middle-aged groups before and after the exercise programme and to test the pre- and post-programme mean values of each group. No differences between the groups or changes due to the exercise programme were observed on total body weight. No significant cardiorespiratory differences were found between the two groups at either test period, however, the young group decreased significantly (p < .01) in submaximal HR and the middle-aged group decreased significantly in resting (p < .01) and submaximal (p < .001) HR illustrating the positive effect of the programme. No significant body composition differences were found between the two groups at the pre-test. At the post-test the middle-aged group had a significantly (p < .10) larger thigh skinfold thickness than the young group. The young group did not change significantly on body composition measures from pre- to post-test. In contrast, the middle-aged group increased significantly in body density (p < .01) and decreased in percent body fat (p < .01) due to a significant (p < .01) reduction in supra-iliac skinfold thickness from 21.67 ± 2.35 to 18.13 ± 2.08 mm. The data were compared with data from other studies using similar age groups. The pre-test percent fat of the young group (25.07 ± .74) was similar to values reported in other studies. The middle-aged group had a relatively lower fat percentage (27.46 ± 1.58) compared with other middle-aged groups.
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