The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy and safety of 16 weeks of self-paced resistance training or walking protocols on neuromotor and functional parameters in active, community-dwelling older adults. Twenty-two sequentially recruited older adults were randomly assigned to one of two exercise groups: self-paced resistance training and self-paced walking. Static and dynamic balance, upper and lower extremity reaction times, muscle strength, and stairclimbing speed were measured before and immediately after 16 weeks of exercise. Preliminary data showed that 16 weeks of self-paced. progressive, lower body resistance training improved balance (one-legged stance with eyes open, 68%). reaction time (10%), muscle strength (160%), and stair climbing speed (28%), while a self-paced walking program improved balance (one-legged stance with eyes open, 51%), stair climbing speed (16%), and in certain circumstances muscle strength (25%), in active, community-dwelling older adults.
Daniel S. Rooks is with the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, the Charles A. Dana Research Institute and the Harvard-Thorndike Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. Bernard J. Ransil is with the Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Wilson C. Hayes is with the Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Direct correspondence to Daniel S. Rooks, Division of Rehabilitation, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA 02215.