OBJECTIVES: To investigate the physiological effects of two different three times a week, eight week training programmes on the aerobic fitness of nine to ten year old girls. METHODS: Treadmill determined peak VO2, submaximal heart rates, and submaximal blood lactate were the criterion measures. Seventeen girls completed a programme of "aerobics" training where sessions lasted 20-25 minutes. Eighteen girls followed a cycle ergometer training programme which involved pedalling continuously for 20 minutes with the heart rate maintained between 160 and 170 beats/minute. A control group of 16 girls completed the criterion tests but did not train. In the cycle ergometer group and eight control subjects plasma total cholesterol and high density lipoprotein cholesterol were determined before and after training. RESULTS: Peak VO2 did not change significantly with training in either training group, neither were there any significant changes in submaximal heart rates. Blood lactate declined significantly at the two lowest submaximal exercise intensities in the cycle ergometer training group (from 2.3 (1.1) to 1.4 (0.06) mmol/l at stage 1 and from 2.1 (1.2) to 1.6 (0.06) mmol/l at stage 2; means (SD); P < 0.01). Total cholesterol and high density lipoprotein cholesterol remained unchanged with training. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that an eight week structured exercise programme produces minimal changes in either the aerobic fitness or blood lipids of young girls. It may be more beneficial for long term health to promote enjoyment in activity and positive attitudes to exercise rather than attempting to enhance aerobic fitness through strenuous exercise programmes.
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