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Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy

Print version ISSN 1413-3555On-line version ISSN 1809-9246


CARVALHO, AR  and  ASSINI, TCKA. Improvement of functional capacity among elderly people undergoing isostretching intervention. Rev. bras. fisioter. [online]. 2008, vol.12, n.4, pp.268-273. ISSN 1809-9246.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the improvement in functional capacity among elderly people undergoing an isostretching intervention. METHODS: This study sample was composed of 39 elderly people of both genders who were sedentary, clinically healthy and aged 66.3±3.34 years. They were divided into two groups: control group (n=19) and experimental group (n=20). The experimental group underwent a ten-session intervention based on isostretching (which is classified as a postural method), applied once a week. Functional capacity was assessed using the six-minute walking test (6WT) at three times: after the screening evaluation (6WT INI), one day after the fifth session (6WT INTER) and one day after the tenth session (6WT FIN). The predicted distance, named the reference value (6WT REF), was calculated from the subjects' anthropometric data, through the formula of Enright & Sherrill. The data were normalized according to the reference values, and inter-group and intra-group comparisons were made, respectively, using independent t test and repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) with Tukey post-hoc test, with α=0.05. RESULTS: There was no statistical difference in 6WT-REF between the groups. In the control group, all of the 6WT measurements were significantly smaller than the 6WT REF (p<0.001), thus indicating weak performance. In the experimental group, no statistical difference was observed between the 6WT REF and 6WT FIN (p>0.05), suggesting better performance in this group. CONCLUSIONS: Isostretching increased the elders' functional capacity and it could be a viable therapeutic resource for preventing the deleterious effects of aging on functional capacity.

Keywords : physical fitness; elderly people; types of physical therapy; isostretching.

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