Background: Functional and physiological declines in advancing age may be significant limiting factors in reduced physical activity. Sarcopenia of aging, as a normative process or disease, cannot entirely explain reduced physical activity in the elderly. Objective: The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between muscle loss and reduction in functional abilities in elderly adults and also to determine whether an exercise program can improve functional performance and muscle quality. Methods: Anthropometric measurements and sensorimotor testing were conducted on 28 volunteers (12 men and 16 women, 82.7 ± 2.4 years of age) who were permanent residents in a skilled nursing facility. Twenty-nine elderly adults (79.3 ± 3.5 years of age) served as a control, nonexercising group. Anthropometric measurements included: weight, height, body fat, and thigh circumference. The muscle strength was tested with a medical isokinetic system. We assessed two sensorimotor functions including a ‘timed up-and-go’ test and a 3-min distance walking test. The institutionalized participants undertook an exercise training program lasting 12 weeks. Results: No significant changes were observed in thigh circumference, body weight, or percentage of body fat in either gender as a result of the exercise training. An improvement in muscle strength was noticed in 82% of the relatively younger group (79–83 years of age) under a slow voluntary contraction at 60°/s (p < 0.05). Post-training results showed a significant improvement in performance in the two sensorimotor tests (p < 0.05). The correlation coefficients between muscle strength and functional ability were weak: r = 0.60 and r = 0.57 for males and females, respectively. Conclusions: This study confirmed the positive effects of an exercise program on functional performance in older adults. The improvement in functional abilities did not correlate with muscle strength, body weight, or body fat.
Dr. E. Carmeli
Department of Physical Therapy
Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University
PO Box 39040, Ramat Aviv 69978 (Israel)
Tel. +972 3 6409224, Fax +972 3 6409223, E-Mail email@example.com
Received: Received: May 17, 1999
Accepted: December 16, 1999
Number of Print Pages : 9
Number of Figures : 0, Number of Tables : 9, Number of References : 37
Gerontology (International Journal of Experimental and Clinical Gerontoloy)
Founded 1957 by F. Verzàr as ‘Gerontologia’, merged 1975 with ‘Gerontologia Clinica’, founded 1959 by E. Woodford-Williams and A.N. Exton-Smith
Organ of the International Association of Gerontology (IAG)
Vol. 46, No. 5, Year 2000 (Cover Date: September-October 2000)
Journal Editor: W. Meier-Ruge, Basel
ISSN: 0304–324X (print), 1423–0003 (Online)
For additional information: http://www.karger.com/journals/ger
Article / Publication Details
Published online: 8/24/2000
Issue release date: September–October 2000
Number of Print Pages: 9
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 9
ISSN: 0304-324X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0003 (Online)
For additional information: http://www.karger.com/GER
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