Aging is accompanied by a significant loss of strength which further contributes to loss of functional ability and a propensity for injury. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of power assisted exercises on muscle endurance and functional capacity of elderly participants following 12 weeks of supervised training.
Elderly subjects (N = 53) were randomly assigned to either the experimental or the control group. The experimental group trained for 12 weeks using powered exercise machines incorporating only concentric contractions while attempting to accelerate the preset, moving levers. Training involved 6 separate machines and using both upper- and lower-body musculature. Pre- and posttests consisted of Timed Chair Stand, Up and Go Test, arm curl, bench press, leg extension, triceps extension, and the Berg Balance Scale Assessment.
Analysis yielded significant improvements (P < .05) by the experimental group over the control group in all measures of muscle endurance, balance, and functional capacity. An improvement in balance paralleled muscle endurance improvements.
Powered exercise equipment when used actively, will generate both upper- and lower-body muscle endurance in elderly participants in a safe exercise environment and such improvement also generated improvement in balance.