Adding weights to low intensity exercise increases isometric muscular strength and functional ability in healthy older adults
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One of the most pronounced changes associated with aging is the impairment of movement, related in part to decreased strength. This study evaluated the effect of using hand-held and ankle weights on isometric strength and functional ability with a group of healthy older adults participating in an 8-week Body Recall exercise programme. Body Recall consists of 60 minutes of group instruction using rhythmic movements in a manner feasible for older adults of all fitness levels. Thirty-two healthy subjects were randomly assigned to two experimental groups; Body Recall (BR) or Body Recall with weights (BR+W). Isometric strength was measured with a hand-held dynamometer for shoulder flexion, knee extension, hip flexion, ankle plantar flexion and grip strength. Subjects in the BR+W group underwent a functional ability test designed to simulate grocery shopping. This test consisted of standing from a sitting position, walking 15.2 m and returning 15.2 m carrying a self-selected weight simulating a bag of groceries. A decreased time or increased weight carried while performing this task was an indication of greater functional ability. A significant increase in isometric strength for BR+W in comparison to BR was found for ankle plantar flexion (53.2 +/- 16.9 to 69.6 +/- 12.2 Kg, p< 0.01) as well as hip flexion (34.2 ᱳ.9 to 46.0 ᠷ.3 Kg, p< 0.05). There was no significant change (p > 0.05) in the time to complete the functional ability test, however, subjects significantly increased (p < 0.05) the weight carried during this assessment. Adding weights to low intensity body movements increased lower extremity isometric strength as well as the capacity to carry weight during a functional task.
International Journal of Fitness