Kinesiology researcher gets $1.2 million to study weight training and cardiovascular health

AUSTIN, Texas—The National Institute of Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded a researcher in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin a $1.2 million grant to study the effect of weight training on cardiovascular health.

The focus of the five-year study is to determine if weight training by middle-aged and older adults modifies the hardening and stiffening of arteries. Dr. Hirofumi Tanaka of the Cardiovascular Aging Research Laboratory in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education will be the principal researcher for the study.

“It is estimated that 45 percent of the older U.S. population experiences loss of muscle function and that approximately 20 percent of these older adults are functionally disabled,” said Tanaka. “Because of these estimates, exercise recommendations for the elderly now include weight training to combat declines in physical function. Although we have known for a long time that weight training can improve musculoskeletal flexibility and function, we know only little about the effect of weight training on cardiovascular function.”

Around 80 healthy, sedentary, middle-aged and older adults are being sought to participate in the study. Participants will engage in a six-month exercise program of resistance training, resistance and aerobic exercise training or stretching/relaxation exercise training to determine the effect of these activities on heart structure and artery function. According to Tanaka, the focus of the research will be on primary aging, and individuals with cardiovascular disease will not be eligible for the study.

For more information about the study, please contact the Cardiovascular Aging Research Laboratory at 512-471-8594 or e-mail

For more information contact: Kay Randall, Public Affairs, 512-232-3910.