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The impact of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) on physical function in assisted-living older adults (73-94 years old) was studied. A 5-week pretraining period consisting of weekly visits by trainers to participants preceded a 10-week training period of warm-up, PNF exercises, and cool-down. Training progressed from 1 set of 3 repetitions to 3 sets of 3 repetitions. Assessments were conducted at baseline (T1), postpretraining (T2), and posttraining (T3). Eleven of 14 volunteer participants completed the study. Physical function was assessed by range of motion (ROM), isometric strength, and balance and mobility measures. Repeated-measures ANOVA identified 6 measures (sit-to-stand, shoulder- and ankle-flexion ROM, and hip-extension, ankle-flexion, and ankle-extension strength) with statistically significant differences. With the exception of hip-extension strength, these measures were statistically significant from T2 to T3 in post hoc univariate tests. Results indicate that PNF flexibility training can improve ROM, isometric strength, and selected physical-function tasks in assisted-living older adults.
Klein is with the Dept. of Health, Safety, and Exercise Science, University of Tennessee–Knoxville, Knoxville, TN 37996-2710. Stone, Phillips, Gangi, and Hartman are with the Dept. of Exercise and Wellness, Arizona State University East, Mesa, AZ 85212-0180.