The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of resistance training alone or in combination with balance and gait training on balance and gait measures in seniors. Subjects, ranging in age from 65 to 83 years, were randomly assigned to a strength and balance/gait group (SB, n = 21 ) or a control group (S, n = 18) receiving strength and relaxation training. Both groups significantly increased their strength and gait speed over the 12-week training period, but step length remained unchanged. The results suggest that elders can make significant gains in muscular strength and walking speed through resistance training, and that adding balance and gait training to resistance training can significantly improve some balance and gait measures beyond improvements achieved from strength training alone. If replicated, these results set the stage for investigations of injury control benefits possible from balance training.
Deborah F. Verfaillie, Jeanne F. Nichols, Ellen Turkel and Melbourne F. Hovell
Jeanne F. Nichols, Karen P. Nelson, Katrina K. Peterson and David J. Sartoris
The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of high-intensity strength training on bone mineral density (BMD) of 34 non-estrogen-repleted, active women over 60 years of age. The study was designed as a randomized, nonblinded trial in which subjects were stratified into rank-ordered pairs by level of physical activity, then randomly assigned into either a weight training (WT) or a control (CON) group. BMD of the spine (L2–L4), hip, and total body was assessed at 0, 6, and 12 months by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Group-by-time repeated-measures ANOVA demonstrated no effect of weight training on BMD, despite marked gains in muscular strength for all exercises. The high-intensity weight training utilized in this study did not induce positive changes in BMD of the hip and spine of previously active, non-estrogen-repleted older women. However, the protocol was safe, enjoyable, and highly effective in increasing muscular strength.
Jeanne F. Nichols, Lori M. Hitzelberger, Jennifer G. Sherman and Patricia Patterson
This study examined the efficacy of a progressive resistance exercise program, using equal concentric/eccentric (CE) or greater eccentric/concentric (GE) workloads, for increasing strength and improving functional abilities of community-dwelling older adults. Sixty men and women were randomly assigned to one of three groups: CE, GE, or control. All strength testing and training took place on six Lifecircuit machines. Functional tests included a bas carry, weighted stair climb, shelf task 1-RM, and static balance. Significant interactions in strength tests were noted for the chest, back, and shoulder exercises. GE improved in shoulder strength more than CE and control For functional measures, all weight trainers were grouped and compared to controls. A significant interaction occurred for the stair climb and balance with the exercise groups decreasing stair climb time by 11% and increasing balance time by 26%. Relative improvements by weight trainers of 12% for the shelf task and 7% for the bag carry were not significant. These data indicate that a moderate intensity resistance program can have positive effects on tasks required for everyday function.