This study aimed to determine the effects of a functional training and ankle stretching program in triceps surae torque, passive stiffness index, and in the risk for fall indicators in older adults. Twenty women (73.4 ± 7.3 years) were allocated into an intervention or control group. The 12-week intervention consisted of functional training and calf stretching exercises performed twice a week. Measurements of peak passive and active torque, passive stiffness, maximum dorsiflexion angle, and indexes of risk for falls (Timed Up and Go, functional reach test, QuickScreen-test) were collected. There were no significant differences for all variables, except the maximum dorsiflexion angle, which increased in the intervention group from 33.78 ± 8.57° to 38.89 ± 7.52°. The exercise program was not sufficient to enhance performance on functional tests and decrease the risk for falls in older adults. The significant increase in the maximum dorsiflexion indicates a positive impact of stretching exercises.
Do Rosario is with the Department of Biosciences, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Martins, Peixinho, and Oliveira are with the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.