CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Sports Med Int Open 2019; 03(02): E48-E57
DOI: 10.1055/a-0900-7501
Training & Testing
Eigentümer und Copyright ©Georg Thieme Verlag KG 2019

Behavioral Modification Enhances the Benefits from Structured Aerobic and Resistance Training

Brett A. Dolezal
1   David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Medicine, Physiology, Los Angeles, United States
David M. Boland
1   David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Medicine, Physiology, Los Angeles, United States
2   Army-Baylor University Doctoral Program, Physical Therapy, San Antonio, United States
Eric V. Neufeld
1   David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Medicine, Physiology, Los Angeles, United States
Jennifer L. Martin
3   David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Medicine, Los Angeles, United States
4   VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Los Angeles, United States
Christopher B. Cooper
1   David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Medicine, Physiology, Los Angeles, United States
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 24 October 2018
revised 14 March 2019

accepted 25 April 2019

Publication Date:
15 July 2019 (online)


Behavioral modification (BM) is a strategy designed to sustain or restore well-being through effects such as enhanced relaxation, reduced stress, and improved sleep. Few studies have explored the role of BM delivered in the context of fitness programs for healthy adults. Thus, the purpose of this investigation was to examine whether BM combined with aerobic and resistance training programs would improve health and fitness measures more than the exercise training alone. Thirty-two healthy fitness club members (19 men) were randomized to receive a BM program (n=15) or an equal-attention (EA) control (n=17). BM consisted of twelve, 10-min education sessions between a trained fitness professional and the participant, coupled with weekly, individualized relaxation, stress reduction, and sleep improvement assignments. All participants engaged in 1 h of coached resistance training and remotely guided aerobic exercise thrice weekly for 12 weeks. Fitness measures (aerobic performance, body composition, muscle strength and endurance, lower-body power), sleep characteristics, and heart rate variability (HRV) were obtained at baseline and after the 12-week program. BM resulted in greater improvements in aerobic performance (increased maximum oxygen uptake, metabolic (lactate) threshold, and percent of maximum oxygen uptake at which metabolic threshold occurred), peak and average lower-body power, and body composition (decreased body fat percentage and fat mass) compared to EA. BM also positively influenced parasympathetic tone through increased High-frequency HRV. BM resulted in greater improvements in fitness measures, body composition, and heart rate variability compared with EA. These findings have intriguing implications regarding the role of BM in augmenting health and physical performance.

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