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Effect of Resistance Training on Walking Ability in Middle-Aged and Older Adults

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of resistance training on walking ability in middle- and older age adults.

Shinji Takahashi, Department of Regional Management, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Tohoku Gakuin University; Koya Suzuki, Department of Human Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Tohoku Gakuin University, Japan

Purpose: To determine the effect of resistance training on walking ability in middle- and older age adults.

Methods: Eight females (age: 54 ± 4.3 years, height: 155.9 ± 4.4 cm, body mass: 54.3 ± 8.9 kg) and 1 male (age: 70 years, height: 156.3 cm, body mass: 65.1 kg) participated in a 10-week moderate resistance-training program. Before and after the training program, their health status (abdominal circumference, blood lipids and glucose) was measured. The following items were also measured before and after the program: walking ability (10-m hurdle walk and 6-min walk), muscular strength (grip strength), muscular endurance (sit-ups), static balance (single-leg balance with eyes open), and flexibility (sit-and-reach). We checked body mass, percent fat, and blood pressure of participants every training session. The resistance-training program consisted of 10 training sessions, each consisting of 20-min warm-up (static stretch and moderate walking), 60 min of resistance training with an elastic band and a balance ball, 20 min of recreation, and 10-min cool-down. The frequency of training was once a week. A uniaxial accelerometer was attached on hip of each participant through the 10 weeks, to monitor their physical activity (METs/hr). To assess the effect of the resistance training, each measurement after the program was compared with that before the program by paired t test. We analyzed the influence of changes of measurements except the resistance training for correlation coefficients between the changes and physical activity.

Results: There were significant changes of abdominal circumference (before vs after: 78.8 ± 8.6 cm vs 76.1 ± 9.4 cm, p = .025), 10-m hurdle walk (5.3 ± 0.6 s vs 4.8 ± 0.4 s, p = .018), and 6-min walk (581 ± 23 m vs 637 ± 41 m, p = .003). On the other hand, changes in other physical fitness components, blood lipids, and glucose were not significant. The averaged physical activity (14.6 ± 7.0 METs/hr) measured by the accelerometer for 10 weeks was not significantly correlated to 10-m hurdle walk (r = .34, p = .365) and 6-min walk (r = .29, p = .447).

Conclusion: These results demonstrated that moderate resistance training improved walking ability in middle- and older adults. The study was supported by Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan (2007-2009 Project number: 19700548).

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