Where strength training has been used in conjunction with functional-task training in older people, not only have there been improvements in leg strength but also improved function has been measured (e.g., Skelton & McLaughlin, 1996). Many studies use participants from care homes rather than community dwellers. We investigated changes in leg power, balance, and functional mobility in community-dwelling sedentary men and women over 70 years of age (n = 6 for training group [TR]; n = 10 for control group [CN]). Progressive training took place over 24 weeks using seated and nonseated exercise. For TR, leg power increased 40%, from 108 ± 40 to 141 ± 53 W (p < .01); dynamic balance increased 48%, from 22.3 ± 7.9 to 33.1 ± 6.1 cm (p < .01; functional reach); and functional mobility increased 12%, from 7.46 ± 1.32 to 6.54 ± 1.41 s (p < .05; timed walk). CN showed no significant change. In conclusion, a community-based exercise program led to large improvements in leg-extensor power, dynamic balance, and functional mobility.
Ramsbottom is with the School of Biological and Molecular Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK. Ambler is with Abingdon Community Hospital, Marcham Road, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 1AG, UK. Potter is with the Oxfordshire County Council Education Dept., Macclesfield House, New Road, Oxford OX1 1NA, UK. Jordan is with the Dept. of Social Services, Oxfordshire, P.O. Box 118, Thame DO, OX9 3FT, UK. Nevill is with the School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure, University of Wolverhampton, Walsall WS1 3BD, UK. Williams is with Housing 21, Baring Road, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, HP9 2NA, UK.