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Wayne T. Phillips and William L. Haskell

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1990) has specified as a key objective the reduction of disability in the performance of activities of daily living (ADL) for persons over the age of 65 years. Many ADL involve combinations of muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility, three components that together have been referred to as "muscular fitness." The capacity of the elderly to remain functionally independent, therefore, may depend less on cardiovascular fitness, which has traditionally been the focus of health related fitness research, than on these components of muscular fitness. This review addresses the issue of muscular fitness and disability in the elderly by considering three questions: Is muscular fitness associated with ADL performance? Can muscular fitness be improved with exercise training? Do improvements in muscular fitness improve ADL performance? Answers to these questions will have important implications for future research and program implementation. Although initial findings are promising, more data are needed on the effect of muscular fitness on functional independence and quality of life in the elderly.

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Diane Austrin Klein, William J. Stone, Wayne T. Phillips, Jaime Gangi and Sarah Hartman

The impact of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) on physical function in assisted-living older adults (73-94 years old) was studied. A 5-week pretraining period consisting of weekly visits by trainers to participants preceded a 10-week training period of warm-up, PNF exercises, and cool-down. Training progressed from 1 set of 3 repetitions to 3 sets of 3 repetitions. Assessments were conducted at baseline (T1), postpretraining (T2), and posttraining (T3). Eleven of 14 volunteer participants completed the study. Physical function was assessed by range of motion (ROM), isometric strength, and balance and mobility measures. Repeated-measures ANOVA identified 6 measures (sit-to-stand, shoulder- and ankle-flexion ROM, and hip-extension, ankle-flexion, and ankle-extension strength) with statistically significant differences. With the exception of hip-extension strength, these measures were statistically significant from T2 to T3 in post hoc univariate tests. Results indicate that PNF flexibility training can improve ROM, isometric strength, and selected physical-function tasks in assisted-living older adults.

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Lee N. Burkett, Joana Ziuraitis and Wayne T. Phillips

The effectiveness of two specific and two non-specific warm-ups on the vertical jump test for female athletes was the focus of this research. The four warm-up procedures were: (a) weighted jumping (WT), (b) submaximal vertical jumping (SUB), (c) stretching (ST), and (d) no warm-up (NW). To control for learning and fatigue, a counter-balanced design was used to test all participants over four different days. Thus all groups were tested in a predetermined order. Participants were 15 university female athletes (age 18 to 23 years). After warming up using one of the four warm-up procedures, three vertical jumps were measured and the best score was used for analysis. A single factors repeated measure analysis of variance and LSD post hoc tests revealed that the weighted jump warm-up procedure was statistically superior (p<0.01) to all other warm-up procedures. No warm-up was statistically inferior to all other warm-ups and submaximal vertical jumping was not statistically different than stretching. It was concluded; (a) performing a warmup is better than no warm-up, and (b) utilizing a weighted resistance-jumping warm-up will produce the highest scores when performing the vertical jump test for female athletes.