Adding Weights to Stretching Exercise Increases Passive Range of Motion for Healthy Elderly
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Stretching exercise is effective for increasing joint range of motion (ROM). However, the Surgeon General's Report and the American College of Sports Medicine cite a lack of studies identifying strategies capable of increasing the effectiveness of stretching exercise. This investigation evaluated adding modest weight (0.45-1.35 kg) to a stretching exercise routine (Body Recall [BR]) on joint ROM. Forty-three subjects ages 55-83 years participated in 1 of 2 training groups, BR, BR with weights (BR+W), or a control group (C). ROM was evaluated at the neck, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle before and after 10 weeks of exercise. Using ANCOVA, significant differences (p < 0.01) were observed for right and left cervical rotation, hip extension, ankle dorsiflexion, ankle plantar flexion, and shoulder flexion. Post hoc analysis revealed that cervical rotation (left and right), hip extension, and ankle dorsiflexion for BR+W subjects differed significantly from BR and C (p < 0.01). Significant differences with shoulder flexion and ankle plantar flexion were found for both BR and BR+W in comparison to C (p < 0.01). Results indicate that addition of weights enhanced the effectiveness of stretching exercise for increasing joint ROM with 4 of the 6 selected measurements. Thus, a modest intensity exercise program that is within the reach of most elderly may significantly affect joint ROM and flexibility.
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research