The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of 6 weeks of stretching and moderate-intensity resistance training on older adults’ functional fitness. Twenty-two older adults (69 ± 1 year) participated in a resistance-training program, and 15 (70 ± 4 years) participated in a control group. Training involved 3 sessions per week, each consisting of 1 set of 12–15 repetitions of lower and upper body exercises on resistance machines. Before sessions, participants performed 20 min of stretching exercises. A recently developed test battery (Rikli & Jones, 1999) to assess the physical parameters associated with independent functioning in older adults was performed before and after training. The combined stretching and resistance exercise resulted in significant (p ≤ .008) improvements on all the functional tests except the 6-min walk. The results indicate that moderate-intensity resistance training in conjunction with stretching can improve functional fitness in older adults, enabling them to more easily perform activities of daily living.
Cavani and Mier are with the Dept. of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Barry University, Miami Shores, FL 33161. Musto and Tummers are with the Dept. of Wellness and Recreation, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33146.