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Edited by C. Jessie Jones and Debra J. Rose

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Debra J. Rose, C. Jessie Jones, and Nicole Lucchese

The purpose of this study was to determine whether performance on the 8-ft up-and-go test (UG) could discriminate between older adult fallers (n = 71) and nonfallers (n = 63) and whether it would be as sensitive and specific a predictor of falls as the timed up-and-go test (TUG). Performance on the UG was significantly different between the recurrent faller and nonfaller groups (p < .01), as was performance on the TUG (p < .001). Older adults who required 8.5 s or longer to complete the UG were classified as fallers, with an overall prediction rate of 82%. The specificity of the test was 86% and the sensitivity was 78%. Conversely, the overall prediction rate for older adults who completed the TUG in 10 s or longer was 80%. The specificity of the TUG was 86% and the sensitivity was 71%.

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C. Jessie Jones, Carter Rakovski, Dana Rutledge, and Angela Gutierrez

Purpose:

To compare fitness of women with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) aged 50+ with performance standards associated with functional independence in late life.

Methods:

Data came from a longitudinal study tracking physical and cognitive function of 93 women with FMS and included the most recent symptoms, activity levels, and fitness assessments.

Results:

Most women performed below criterion-referenced fitness standards for all measures. Nearly 90% percent of those < 70 years scored below the standard for lower body strength. Only ~20% of respondents < 70 years old met the criteria for aerobic endurance. A third of those aged over 70 met the standard in agility and dynamic balance. Physical activity was positively associated with fitness performance, while pain and depression symptoms were negatively associated.

Discussion:

High proportions of women with FMS do not meet fitness standards recommended for maintaining physical independence in late life, indicating a risk for disability. Regular fitness assessments and targeted exercise interventions are warranted.

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C. Jessie Jones, Dana N. Rutledge, and Jordan Aquino

The purposes of this study were to determine whether people with and without fibromyalgia (FM) age 50 yr and above showed differences in physical performance and perceived functional ability and to determine whether age, gender, depression, and physical activity level altered the impact of FM status on these factors. Dependent variables included perceived function and 6 performance measures (multidimensional balance, aerobic endurance, overall functional mobility, lower body strength, and gait velocity—normal or fast). Independent (predictor) variables were FM status, age, gender, depression, and physical activity level. Results indicated significant differences between adults with and without FM on all physical-performance measures and perceived function. Linear-regression models showed that the contribution of significant predictors was in expected directions. All regression models were significant, accounting for 16–65% of variance in the dependent variables.

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C. Jessie Jones, Roberta E. Rikli, Jackie Benedict, and Paula Williams

It has been well documented that high-intensity strength training using weight machines and other laboratory controlled equipment and procedures improves strength in older adults. However, few studies have investigated the effects of low-cost, less intense strength conditioning programs suitable for use in a community setting. The purpose of this study was to test the effects of a 16-week, self-regulated resistance training program on strength and endurance of the ankle dorsi- and plantar flexors, and of the knee extensors and flexors. Forty-six older women (M = 67 yrs) were randomly assigned to either control or exercise groups. After initial testing, exercisers began a training regimen of seven exercises that stressed muscle groups of the lower extremities. Control subjects maintained their normal activity patterns. Significant (p < .05) or borderline significant (p < .07) exercise effects were found on 10 of the 16 dependent measures. Results of this study indicate that a field-based strength conditioning program of moderate, self-regulated intensity can improve some aspects of lower limb muscle function of older women.