This study examined the effects of a 1-year low intensity exercise program in community dwelling older women on falls, injuries, and risk factors for falls such as poor balance, muscular weakness, and gait abnormalities. Eighty older women were assigned to an exercise (Ex, n = 42) or attention control (Co, n = 38) group. During the 1-year study, 36% of the Ex group experienced a fall compared to 45% of the Co group (χ2 = 0.22, p ≥ 0.05). None of the 10 fallers in the Ex group suffered an injury that required medical attention, compared with 3 of the 14 fallers (21%) in the Co group. Further analyses indicated that the Co group declined significantly in isometric strength of the knee extensors and ankle dorsiflexors while the Ex group did not change significantly across the 1-year study. On measures of hip abductor strength, balance, and gait, the groups were not significantly different from each other pre- to post intervention.
Priscilla Gilliam MacRae, Michael E. Feltner, and Sibylle Reinsch
Priscilla Gilliam MacRae, Celee Morris, Cheok Y. Lee, Karen Crum, Dale Giessman, James S. Greene, and Jo Ann Ugolini
Comparisons between young and older women runners and sedentary controls were examined on simple and choice reaction time tasks involving elbow flexion and extension. Reaction time was fractionated into premotor and contractile components using electromyography. Young runners were significantly faster and the older controls were significantly slower than all other groups on all reaction time tasks. The older runners were not significantly different from the young controls in any of the reaction time tasks, thus indicating that a history of running may eliminate or retard the slowing of reaction time that normally accompanies aging. All four groups had similar contractile times, indicating that the differences in reaction time were attributed to central processing in the premotor component of reaction time.