This study evaluated the effects of a 4-month lower extremity strength-training program on mobility in older adults. Eighty-five older adults (43 experimental, ES, and 42 comparison, CS) with a mean age of 72.3 years served as participants. The ES strength-trained plantar flexors (PF), knee flexors (KF), and knee extensors (KE) 1 hr/day, 3 days a week for 4 months. Both the ES and CS were evaluated for PF, KF, and KE strength (1 RM) and the time required to complete floor rise, chair rise, 50-ft walk, and walking up and down stairs before and after the training intervention. The ES increased (p < .05) both absolute (51.9%) and relative strength (1 RM/body weight, 52.4%) after training. Only chair-rise and floor-rise tasks improved significantly after training. Baseline and posttraining mobility tasks predicted from 1 RMs had low to moderate R values. These results suggest that strength is necessary for mobility, but increasing strength above baseline provides only marginal improvement in mobility for reasonably fit older adults.
L. Jerome Brandon, Lisa W. Boyette, Deborah A. Gaasch and Adrienne Lloyd
L. Jerome Brandon, Lisa W. Boyette, Adreinne Lloyd and Deborah A. Gaasch
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a 24-month moderate-intensity resistive-training intervention on strength and function in older adults. A repeated-measures experimental research design was employed as a sample of 55 apparently healthy, older, community-dwelling volunteers (30 exercisers—25 women and 5 men; 25 comparisons—16 women and 9 men) were evaluated for strength of 5 muscle groups that influence lower extremity movement and physical function. Strength and function were evaluated at 6-month intervals. The findings from this study indicate that a moderate-intensity resistive-training program increases strength in older adults and that the strength benefits are retained for the duration of the intervention. Furthermore, a long-term strength-training program can increase independent-function skills in older adults and might therefore aid in prolonging functional independence.