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Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy

versão impressa ISSN 1413-3555versão On-line ISSN 1809-9246


CANDELORO, JM  e  CAROMANO, FA. Effect of a hydrotherapy program on flexibility and muscle strength in elderly women. Rev. bras. fisioter. [online]. 2007, vol.11, n.4, pp.303-309. ISSN 1413-3555.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of a hydrotherapy program on flexibility and muscle strength among sedentary elderly women. METHOD: The participants were 31 healthy sedentary elderly women aged between 65 and 70 years (16 in the experimental group and 15 in the control group). Muscle strength tests were carried out using myometry on arm, leg and chest muscles. Flexibility before and after the program was assessed by means of a photographic record of performance in toe-touch tests and tests of anterior flexion of the trunk. The program consisted of 28 one-hour sessions over a consecutive 14-week period. The physical exercises were organized in seven levels of difficulty that were selected to obtain gains in flexibility and muscle strength. RESULTS: There was a statistically significant decrease in anterior flexion of the trunk of - 15.4%, which signified a mean decrease of 19.3 cm (±22.4) in the distance from the styloid process of the ulna to the lateral malleolus, and an improvement of 4.2% in the toetouch test, which indicated a mean increase in finger-to-finger distance of 4.7 cm (±4.5). There were no statistically significant changes in strength in the abdominal, gluteal and iliopsoas muscles. The quadriceps femoris, hamstring, biceps brachii, pectoralis major, middle pectoralis and middle deltoid presented significant improvement. CONCLUSION: The proposed hydrotherapy program was efficient in improving flexibility and partially effective in improving muscle strength among the early elderly women who took part in the study. Our results are compatible with the findings from similar studies carried out on the ground.

Palavras-chave : hydrotherapy; aging; aquatic exercises; flexibility; muscle strength.

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