Age (Dordr). 2016 Aug 25;
Older individuals who exercise regularly exhibit greater resistance to oxidative stress than their sedentary peers, suggesting that exercise can modify age-associated loss of resistance to oxidative stress. However, we recently demonstrated that a single bout of exercise confers protection against a subsequent oxidative challenge in young, but not older adults. We therefore hypothesized that repeated bouts of exercise would be needed to increase resistance to an oxidative challenge in sedentary older middle-aged adults. Sedentary older middle-aged men and women (50-63 years, n = 11) participated in an 8-week exercise intervention. Maximal oxygen consumption was measured before and after the intervention. The exercise intervention consisted of three sessions per week, for 45 min at an intensity corresponding to 70-85 % maximal heart rate (HRmax). Resistance to oxidative stress was measured by F2-isoprostane response to a forearm ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) trial. Each participant underwent the I/R trial before and after the exercise intervention. The intervention elicited a significant increase in maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) (P < 0.0001). Baseline levels of F2-isoprostanes pre- and post-intervention did not differ, but the F2-isoprostane response to the I/R trial was significantly lower following the exercise intervention (time-by-trial interaction, P = 0.043). Individual improvements in aerobic fitness were associated with greater improvements in the F2-isoprostane response (r = -0.761, P = 0.011), further supporting the role of aerobic fitness in resistance to oxidative stress. These data demonstrate that regular exercise with improved fitness leads to increased resistance to oxidative stress in older middle-aged adults and that this measure is modifiable in previously sedentary individuals.