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Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy

Print version ISSN 1413-3555


LOCKS, Rafaella R. et al. Effects of strength and flexibility training on functional performance of healthy older people. Rev. bras. fisioter. [online]. 2012, vol.16, n.3, pp.184-190. ISSN 1413-3555.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of stretching and/or resistive exercise, followed by detraining, on the functional status of older people. METHODS: Forty-five subjects were divided into four groups: control (CG; n=13; 66±6 years), stretching (SG; n=10; 69±6 years), resistive exercise (RG; n=13; 69±5 years), and resistive exercise and stretching (RSG; n=9; 66±5 years). The CG did not perform any exercise. The SG, RG, and RSG had warm-up sessions prior to performing lower-body exercises twice a week. The SG performed 4 repetitions of stretching. Resistive exercise was performed at a load of 65% of 10 repetitions maximum (RM) for five weeks, 70% for the next four weeks, and 75% for the last three weeks of the program. The RSG performed both exercises. Cardiorespiratory capacity was evaluated using the 6-minute walk test (6MWT) at baseline, at the six- and 12-week follow-ups, and after a six-week period of detraining. Lower limb muscle strength was assessed using the stand up from a chair and sit down test (SUCSD), and blood pressure was measured using a sphygmomanometer and a stethoscope. The results were analyzed using ANOVA (p<0.05). RESULTS: Six weeks of training increased walking distance (6MWT) in the RG and decreased SUCSD time in the SG. However, detraining increased systolic blood pressure (SBP) in the RG compared to the SG. Diastolic blood pressure (DBP) decreased after six weeks in the RSG and 12 weeks in the SG. CONCLUSIONS: Six weeks of stretching or resistive training can improve the functional status of older people. Nevertheless, DBP decreased after six weeks with the combination of resistive exercise and stretching. Detraining increased SBP when resistive exercise alone was used.

Keywords : aging; muscle strength; physical therapy; blood pressure; movement; rehabilitation.

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