The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a 24-month moderate-intensity resistive-training intervention on strength and function in older adults. A repeated-measures experimental research design was employed as a sample of 55 apparently healthy, older, community-dwelling volunteers (30 exercisers—25 women and 5 men; 25 comparisons—16 women and 9 men) were evaluated for strength of 5 muscle groups that influence lower extremity movement and physical function. Strength and function were evaluated at 6-month intervals. The findings from this study indicate that a moderate-intensity resistive-training program increases strength in older adults and that the strength benefits are retained for the duration of the intervention. Furthermore, a long-term strength-training program can increase independent-function skills in older adults and might therefore aid in prolonging functional independence.
The authors are with the Rehabilitation Research and Development Center, V.A. Medical Center, Decatur, GA 30033. Brandon and Boyette are also with the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, School of Medicine, Emory University, and Brandon, the Dept. of Kinesiology and Health, Georgia State University.