Low volume, home-based weighted step exercise training can improve lower limb muscle power and functional ability in community-dwelling older women

Review written by Dr Mariana Wingood info

Key Points

  1. Age-related loss in muscle mass, exacerbated by physical inactivity, leads to functional limitations and activity restrictions.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Functional limitations can occur due to multiple reasons, with physical inactivity and age-related loss of muscle strength being two primary factors (1). Age-related loss of muscle strength starts around the age of 30 and accelerates after the age of 50 when individuals lose up to 15% of muscle strength per decade (2). This rate is even greater when examining muscle power, particularly in individuals who have mobility impairments.

This decline in strength and power results in increased difficulty performing activities of daily living, such as climbing stairs, rising from a chair and undertaking household chores (1,4). Thus, it is recommended that all individuals, particularly older adult women, participate in a progressive resistance training (PRT) program that incorporates power exercises (4-6).

Unfortunately, the proportion of adults that participate in PRT decreases with aging. There are several reasons for this including access to facilities and equipment, lack of time, cost, inconvenience, lack of age-appropriate classes, and fear of injury or illness (7,8). To address many of these barriers, the authors of this study decided to implement a PRT program that incorporates power exercises that can be done at home. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of a six-week weighted step exercise program as measured by muscular strength, power, and functional ability.

Age-related loss of muscle strength starts around the age of 30 and accelerates after the age of 50 when individuals lose up to 15% of muscle strength per decade.
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Mimicking an exercise program to match functional activity that is important to the patient is key for ensuring adherence to an exercise program.

METHODS

Design: Quasi-experimental cross-over design.

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