A treadmill walking test was developed in order to provide a suitable method of assessing the fitness levels of sedentary middle-aged men (mean age, 44.3 yrs) at submaximal intensity. The incremental stages of the test enabled subjects to terminate the workload whenever undue discomfort was experienced. The test procedure was used in a preliminary experiment to compare the cardiovascular and metabolic responses of trained and untrained middle-aged men to exercise. Heart rate responses to the test were significantly higher (p less than 0.01) in the untrained, compared with the trained, men as were the post-exercise blood lactic acid concentrations (p less than 0.01), Respiratory Exchange Ratios (p less than 0.01), Ventilatory Equivalents (p less than 0.05) and Rate of Perceived Exertion (p less than 0.01). However, there were no differences in the oxygen cost of walking between the two groups.
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