Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte
On-line version ISSN 1806-9940
CRISTOPOLISKI, Fabiano et al. Transient effect of flexibility exercises in the hip joint on the gait of older women. Rev Bras Med Esporte [online]. 2008, vol.14, n.2, pp. 139-144. ISSN 1806-9940. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-86922008000200011.
Gait is the most common activity performed by humans, being a fundamental motor ability to locomotion. However, ageing is characterized by a gradual reduction of the locomotor apparatus efficiency which occurs by the decrease in strength, muscle mass and flexibility. This study aimed to verify the transient effect of a single session of hip extensor and flexor muscles stretching exercises over gait in elderly subjects. Five elderly ladies (67.0 ± 3.8 years 1.59 ± 0.07 m; 64.3 ± 15.3 Kg) volunteered to participate in the study. Gait analysis was performed before and after stretching exercises. The stretching protocol was applied in a single session and consisted of three static stretching exercises conducted during 30s for the hip joint flexor and extensor muscles. After the stretching session, participants' gait showed reduced pelvic anterior tilt peak, greater hip range of motion and extension peak, greater knee range of motion, greater knee peak flexion angle during the mid swing and greater toe clearance (28.6%). Results showed that immediately after a stretching session, the elderly women presented alterations in the gait pattern in which some variables suggest a reduced risk of fall. The effects of ageing over some variables were partially reversed and the participants presented a gait pattern more similar to young adults than before stretching.
Keywords : ageing; stretching; gait and risk of falls.