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Jill M. Slade, Hector De Los Santos-Posadas and M. Elaine Cress

This study examined the change in 15K running performance for master runners over 21 years (1978–1998). Official times were collected for 60 male runners from the same running event. Trends in running performance were analyzed with several models (linear, polynomial, and segmented-line). A self-report questionnaire was used to quantify training and to characterize runners. Peak age of running performance was indirectly estimated at 33 years using a second-degree polynomial. The performance trend was also associated with an inflection point at age 41 directly estimated from a nonlinear, segmented, mixed-effects model (95% confidence interval: 38.77–42.44). After age 41, master runners ran nearly 1 min slower each year. Besides age, other parameters that influenced performance over time included type of training (interval training) and body weight. These data might be among the first to describe the trend in running performance for a group of master athletes, most of whom were noncompetitive runners.

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Trudy L. Moore-Harrison, Mary Ann Johnson, Mary Ellen Quinn and M. Elaine Cress

Background:

This study examined the feasibility of implementing the EnhanceFitness Program (formerly Lifetime Fitness Program), an evidence-based exercise program, at congregate-meal sites that generally serve low-income older adults.

Methods:

A 12-week aerobic and strength training exercise program was held at senior centers 3 times a week.

Results:

The mean age of the 31 participants was 73.5 years ± 6.7 years (60–86). Participants’ compliance with attending the exercise class was 74%. Paired t tests were used to evaluate change after the intervention. Three out of six components of the Senior Fitness Test increased significantly after the exercise intervention (P < .003). Three out of the eight self-reported health concepts of the SF-36 demonstrated significant improvement after the exercise intervention (P < .003).

Conclusion:

These data indicate that an evidence-based exercise program can be successfully implemented in this population.

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M. Elaine Cress, David M. Buchner, Thomas Prohaska, James Rimmer, Marybeth Brown, Carol Macera, Loretta DiPietro and Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko

Physical activity offers one of the greatest opportunities for people to extend years of active independent life and reduce functional limitations. The article identifies key practices for promoting physical activity in older adults, with a focus on those with chronic disease or low fitness and those with low levels of physical activity. Key practices identified: (a) A multidimensional activity program that includes endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility training is optimal for health and functional benefits; (b) principles of behavior change including social support, self-efficacy, active choices, health contracts, assurances of safety, and positive reinforcement enhance adherence; (c) manage risk by beginning at low intensity but gradually increasing to moderate physical activity, which has a better risk:benefit ratio and should be the goal for older adults; (d) an emergency procedure plan is prudent for community-based programs; and (e) monitoring aerobic intensity is important for progression and motivation. Selected content review of physical activity programming from major organizations and institutions is provided.

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Patrick J. O’Connor, Melanie S. Poudevigne, M. Elaine Cress, Robert W. Motl and James F. Clapp III

Objective:

Describe safety and efficacy of a supervised, low-to-moderate intensity strength training program adopted during pregnancy among women at increased risk for back pain.

Methods:

32 women adopted strength training twice per week for 12 weeks. Data on musculoskeletal injuries, symptoms, blood pressure, and the absolute external load used for 5 of 6 exercises were obtained during each session. A submaximal lumbar extension endurance exercise test was performed at weeks 5, 10, and 13.

Results:

The mean (± SD) exercise session attendance rate was 80.5% (± 11.3%). No musculoskeletal injuries occurred. Potentially adverse symptoms (eg, dizziness) were infrequent (2.1% of sessions). Repeated-measures ANOVA showed large increases in the external load across 12 weeks (all P values < .001) and the percentage increases in external load from weeks 1 to 12 were 36% for leg press, 39% for leg curl, 39% for lat pull down, 41% for lumbar extension and 56% for leg extension. Training was associated with a 14% increase in lumbar endurance. Blood pressure was unchanged following acute exercise sessions and after 12 weeks of exercise training.

Conclusion:

The adoption of a supervised, low-to-moderate intensity strength training program during pregnancy can be safe and efficacious for pregnant women.