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  • Author: Markku Alén x
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Miia Suuriniemi, Harri Suominen, Anitta Mahonen, Markku Alén and Sulin Cheng

This follow-up study confirms our previous findings that the ER-α PvuII polymorphism (Pp) modulates the association between exercise and bone mass. The differences in bone properties of girls with consistently low physical activity (LLPA) and consistently high physical activity (HHPA) were evident only in those bearing the heterozygote ER-α genotype (Pp). In particular, areal bone mineral density of the total femur, bone mineral content and areal bone mineral density of the femoral neck, and bone mineral content and cortical thickness of the tibia shaft were significantly (p < .05) lower in the Pp girls with LLPA than in their HHPA counterparts. These findings might partly explain the genetic basis of human variation associated with exercise training.

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Marko T. Korhonen, Harri Suominen, Jukka T. Viitasalo, Tuomas Liikavainio, Markku Alen and Antti A. Mero

Eighteen young (23 ± 4 yr) and 25 older (70 ± 4 yr) male sprinters were examined for ground reaction force (GRF) and temporal-spatial variables. The data were collected during maximum-speed phase, and variability and symmetry indices were calculated from a total of 8 steps. There was little variation (CV < 6%) in vertical and resultant GRF and kinematic variables, while impact loading had high variability (CV: 10–21%). Overall, the pattern of variability was similar in both groups. Yet, a small but significant age-related increase in CV was evident in horizontal GRFs. There was a variable-specific asymmetry between legs but it was not related to leg dominance. No age differences existed in the symmetry indices. Results indicate that only selected force platform variables are symmetric and repeatable enough so that their use for comparison purposes is appropriate. Data also suggest that aging may increase variability in certain biomechanical measures, whereas symmetry is not affected by age.

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Janne Sallinen, Arto Pakarinen, Mikael Fogelholm, Elina Sillanpää, Markku Alen, Jeff S. Volek, William J. Kraemer and Keijo Häkkinen

This study examined the effects of strength training and diet on serum basal hormone concentrations and muscle mass in aging women. Fifty-one women age 49 to 74 y were divided into two groups: strength training and nutritional counseling (n = 25), and strength training (n = 26). Both groups performed strength training twice a week for 21 wk. Nutritional counseling was given to attain sufficient energy and protein intake and recommended intake of fat and fiber. We found that the cross-sectional area of the quadriceps femoris increased by 9.5 ± 4.1% in the nutritional counseling group versus 6.8 ± 3.5% in the strength training only group after training (P < 0.052). Nutritional counseling evoked dietary changes such as increases in the proportion of energy from protein and the ratio of poly-unsaturated and saturated fatty acids. Strength training increased testosterone and testosterone/sex hormone-binding globulin ratio after the first half of training, but these returned to baseline values at the end of the entire training period. Changes in serum basal hormone concentrations did not differ between the groups. Our results support the conclusion that nutritional counseling can contribute to the increase in the muscle cross-sectional area during prolonged strength training in aging women.

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Erja Portegijs, Sanna Read, Inka Pakkala, Mauri Kallinen, Ari Heinonen, Taina Rantanen, Markku Alen, Ilkka Kiviranta, Sanna Sihvonen and Sarianna Sipilä

Our aim was to study the effects of sense of coherence (SOC) on training adherence and interindividual changes in muscle strength, mobility, and balance after resistance training in older people with hip fracture history. These are secondary analyses of a 12-week randomized controlled trial of progressive resistance training in 60- to 85-year-old community-dwelling people 0.5–7 years after hip fracture (n = 45; ISRCTN34271567). Pre- and posttrial assessments included SOC, knee extension strength, walking speed, timed up-and-go (TUG), and Berg Balance Scale (BBS). Group-by-SOC interaction effects (repeated-measures ANOVA) were statistically significant for TUG (p = .005) and BBS (p = .040), but not for knee extension strength or walking speed. Weaker SOC was associated with poorer training adherence (mixed model; p = .009). Thus, more complicated physical tasks did not improve in those with weaker SOC, independently of training adherence. Older people with weaker SOC may need additional psychosocial support in physical rehabilitation programs to optimize training response.

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Keijo Häkkinen, Markku Alen, Mauri Kallinen, Mikel Izquierdo, Kirsi Jokelainen, Helka Lassila, Esko Mälkiä, William J. Kraemer and Robert U. Newton

Forty-two healthy men and women in two age groups (40 and 70 years) were examined for muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), maximal voluntary bilateral isometric force, force-time characteristics, maximal concentric 1 RM. and power performance of the leg extensors in a sitting position, squat jump, and standing long-jump. The results suggested that the decline in maximal strength with increasing age is related to the decline in muscle CSA; however, particularly in older women, the force/CSA ratio may also be lowered. Explosive force seems to decrease with increasing age even more than maximal strength. suggesting that muscle atrophy with aging is greater in fast-twitch fibers. The voluntary activation of the agonist and antagonist muscles seems to vary depending on the type of muscle action and/or velocity and time duration of the action in both age groups but to a greater extent in older people. There appears to be an age-related increase in antagonist co activation. especially in dynamic explosive movements.