Four Weeks of Detraining Induced by COVID-19 Reverse Cardiac Improvements from Eight Weeks of Fitness-Dance Training in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Physical training is considered as a low-cost intervention to generate cardioprotective benefits and to promote physical and mental health, while reducing the severity of acute respiratory infection symptoms in older adults. However, lockdown measures during COVID-19 have limited people's opportunity to exercise regularly. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of eight weeks of Fitness and Dance training, followed by four weeks of COVID-19-induced detraining, on cardiac
... cardiac adaptations and physical performance indicators in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Twelve older adults (6 males and 6 females) with MCI (age, 73 ± 4.4 y; body mass, 75.3 ± 6.4 kg; height, 172 ± 8 cm; MMSE score: 24–27) participated in eight weeks of a combined Fitness-Dance training intervention (two sessions/week) followed by four weeks of training cessation induced by COVID-19 lockdowns. Wireless Polar Team Pro and Polar heart rate sensors (H10) were used to monitor covered distance, speed, heart rate (HR min, avg and max), time in HR zone 1 to 5, strenuousness (load score), beat-to-beat interval (max RR and avg RR) and heart rate variability (HRV-RMSSD). One-way ANOVA was used to analyze the data of the three test sessions (T1: first training session, T2: last training session of the eight-week training program, and T3: first training session after the four-week training cessation). Statistical analysis showed that eight weeks of combined Fitness-Dance training induced beneficial cardiac adaptations by decreasing HR (HR min, HR avg and HR max) with p < 0.001, ES = 0.5–0.6 and Δ = −7 to−9 bpm, and increasing HRV related responses (max and avg RR and RMSSD), with p < 0.01 and ES = 0.4. Consequently, participants spent more time in comfortable HR zones (e.g., p < 0.0005; ES = 0.7; Δ = 25% for HR zone 1) and showed reduced strenuousness (p = 0.02, Δ = −15% for load score), despite the higher covered total distance and average speed (p < 0.01; ES = 0.4). However, these changes were reversed after only four weeks of COVID-19 induced detraining, with values of all parameters returning to their baseline levels. In conclusion, eight weeks of combined Fitness-Dance training seems to be an efficient strategy to promote cardioprotective benefits in older adults with MCI. Importantly, to maintain these health benefits, training has to be continued and detraining periods should be reduced. During a pandemic, home-based exercise programs may provide an effective and efficient alternative of physical training.