Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology



First Advisor

Christie Ward-Ritacco


Background Active-assisted (AA) cycling is a form of aerobic cycling exercise that utilizes specialized cycling equipment outfitted with a motor to assist individuals with maintaining their workload/intensity. AA cycling has predominantly been used in research studies to assess its effects aspects of physical and mental health in individuals with neurodegenerative diseases. At present, there have been no published studies examining the physiological responses to a standard protocol of AA in healthy older adults. Objectives The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to examine the physiological responses in oxygen consumption (VO2), heart rate (HR), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) during acute bouts of AA and compare them to responses during an equivalent bout of recumbent (RB) cycling in healthy older adults (age: 58.5 ± 6.70 years. Bouts of AA and RB modes were completed at 1) 65-70% estimated maximal heart rate (HRmax) of the individual, and 2) at a self-selected pace (SSP) of the Borg RPE 12-13. Methods Ten participants (female=7, male=3) completed a baseline acclimatization session in addition to four, 25-min exercise sessions, conducted at the same time of day, with at least one week between visits. The four exercise sessions included two-AA sessions and two-RB sessions conducted in randomized order. During each session, participants completed 5 minutes of warm up cycling, followed by 15 minutes of exercise at their assigned intensity on their assigned bicycle, concluding with a 5-minute cool down. Oxygen consumption was measured using MedGraphics UltimaTM CardioO2 ® gas exchange analysis system (Saint Paul, MN, USA), HR was measured using a heart rate monitor, and RPE was self-reported using the Borg Rating of Perceived Exercise Scale. A series of 2x3 way ANOVAs were conducted to examine differences between relative VO2, HR and RPE values from AA and RB (2 modes) between minutes 3-5, 8-10, and 13-15 (3 time points) for each of the prescribed conditions (65-70% HRmax and RPE ). Results VO2, HR and RPE increased from resting conditions and steady state was achieved in each of the exercise trials, regardless of cycling mode or intensity prescription and there were no statistically significant differences found between time points or trials (all p > .05) between AA and RB for 65-70% estimated HRmax and SSP. Conclusion As, AA and RB produced similar acute physiological responses to exercise prescribed using 65-70% estimated HRmax and SSP, both modes of cycling may be effective approaches for increasing increase moderate intensity exercise among healthy older adults.



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