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Sandra O’Brien Cousins

Little research has attended to the possibility that competencies and efficacy for physical activity acquired in childhood may last a lifetime. This study examined self-report and recall data on 327 Vancouver women born between 1896 and 1921 with a view to understanding current sources of self-efficacy for adult fitness activity. Current self-efficacy (SE) for late life fitness activity was assessed alongside age, education, perceived well-being, and movement confidence in childhood (MCC) for six challenging physical skills. Perceived well-being was the best predictor of late life SE for fitness exercise, explaining 26% of the variance. However, MCC was also an equally important and independent predictor of late life SE. even when age. education, and perceived well-being were controlled for. This study provides preliminary evidence that personal estimates of ability to exercise in late life are based on self-evaluations of Wellness, current age, and former competencies that have origins in girlhood mastery experiences over six decades earlier.

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Kristin M. Mills, Scott Sadler, Karen Peterson, and Lorrin Pang

Falls among the elderly are a rapidly growing health concern for Americans. In 2010, elderly falls cost the US health care system $30 billion in direct medical expenses alone. 1 If long-term care costs are factored in, costs would be much higher. Nursing home admissions are more likely to occur

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Bernard Auvinet, Gilles Berrut, Claude Touzard, Laurent Moutel, Nadine Collet, Denis Chaleil, and Eric Barrey

The objective of this study was to measure gait abnormalities in elderly fallers with the Locometrix™ gait-analysis system. This accelerometric device provided the following gait variables: walking speed and stride frequency, length, symmetry, and regularity. The variables were analyzed over a 20-s period of stable walking on a flat track of 40 m. Participants were 20 elderly patients hospitalized for falls (mean age 80.8 ± 5.0 years) and 33 older adults living at home (mean age 77.2 ± 6.5 years). All gait variables were found to be significantly lower in the faller group (p < .05). The lower gait speed, stride length, and stride frequency were previously recognized as nonrelevant in predicting the risk of falling, whereas lower stride symmetry was related to an underlying pathology and lower stride regularity was correlated to the risk of falls. The Locometrix appears to be well suited to measure gait regularity in routine practice.

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Renata Valle Pedroso, José Maria Cancela, Carlos Ayán, Angelica Miki Stein, Gilson Fuzaro, José Luiz Riani Costa, Francisco J. Fraga, and Ruth Ferreira Santos-Galduróz

latency and amplitude, 7 , 8 especially in the elderly. 9 Nevertheless, to the authors’ knowledge, any study about the effects of physical exercise on P300 has been carried out in cognitively impaired populations. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to identify the potential benefits of a

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Patrick J. O’Connor, Louis E. Aenchbacher III, and Rod K. Dishman

Exercise is often recommended to elderly persons for enhancing both physical and mental health. This paper reviews the scientific evidence relating physical activity and reduced depression in the elderly. Population based studies and experimental investigations are summarized and critically evaluated. Included is a discussion of some unique challenges that must be met in order for the relationship between depression and physical activity in the elderly to be adequately studied. The weight of the available population based survey evidence, on noninstitutionalized elderly only, suggests a moderate relationship between self-reported physical inactivity and symptoms of depression. However, there is no compelling experimental evidence that exercise per se is effective in preventing or treating depressive disorders in the elderly. Suggestions aimed at improving future research in this area are offered.

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Rachael D. Seidler-Dobrin, jiping He, and George E. Stelmach

The aim of this experiment was to determine whether elderly persons exhibit reciprocal phasing of muscle activity and scale EMG burst amplitude in the same manner as young people. Seven young and 7 elderly adults performed 30° elbow flexion movements at 800 ms duration to a visual target against varying inertial loads. The elderly were not able to achieve the required movement duration as frequently and spent a greater portion of the movement accelerating than the young. The young and the elderly subjects scaled EMG burst amplitude to the increasing loads in the same fashion, although the elderly subjects coactivated the agonisthtagonist muscles more than did the young subjects and thus did not accelerate the limb as rapidly. We hypothesized that the elderly used coactivation to reduce movement variability, and we developed a single-joint model with two muscles to examine this hypothesis. The model simulation correctly predicted the variability reduction due to coactivation. It appears, however, that this reduces the capability to accelerate rapidly.

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Sangeetha Madhavan, Sarah Burkart, Gail Baggett, Katie Nelson, Trina Teckenburg, Mike Zwanziger, and Richard K. Shields

Neuromuscular control strategies might change with age and predispose the elderly to knee-joint injury. The purposes of this study were to determine whether long latency responses (LLRs), muscle-activation patterns, and movement accuracy differ between the young and elderly during a novel single-limb-squat (SLS) task. Ten young and 10 elderly participants performed a series of resistive SLSs (~0–30°) while matching a computer-generated sinusoidal target. The SLS device provided a 16% body-weight resistance to knee movement. Both young and elderly showed significant overshoot error when the knee was perturbed (p < .05). Accuracy of the tracking task was similar between the young and elderly (p = .34), but the elderly required more muscle activity than the younger participants (p < .05). The elderly group had larger LLRs than the younger group (p < .05). These results support the hypothesis that neuromuscular control of the knee changes with age and might contribute to injury.

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Valérie Michel-Pellegrino, David Hewson, Jean-Yves Hogrel, and Jacques Duchêne

The aim of this study was to analyze differences in biomechanical parameters between elderly and control participants when stepping up, to evaluate control of balance. Eleven control and 14 elderly participants performed a step from an initial static posture onto a 7-cm-high force plate. For the spontaneous-velocity condition, elderly participants performed a slower progression velocity than control participants. Elderly participants spent proportionally more time in stance phase, with a corresponding decrease in swing phase, than the control participants, irrespective of movement velocity. In contrast, at spontaneous velocity the parameters related to ground-reaction force (GRF) showed that anteroposterior and mediolateral forces at toe-off of the support limb and the slope of vertical force during weight transfer were significantly smaller for the elderly than for control participants. These GRF parameters depended on the stepping-up velocity. The elderly develop a spatiotemporal strategy and reduced movement velocity to control support balance.

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Wei Sun, Xiujie Ma, Lin Wang, Cui Zhang, Qipeng Song, Houxin Gu, and Dewei Mao

Approximately one of three people aged 65 years and older fall at least once a year, and half of them experience multiple falls ( Davis et al., 2010 ). Falls cause severe injuries in the elderly, especially postmenopausal women with osteoporosis; such injuries include soft tissue injury, fracture