Impact of low cost strength training of dorsi- and plantar flexors on balance and functional mobility in institutionalized elderly people.

Ribeiro F, Teixeira F, Brochado G, Oliveira J

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a low cost strength training program of the dorsi- and ankle plantar flexors on muscle strength, balance and functional mobility, in elderly institutionalized subjects; and to determine the association between strength gain and balance and/or functional mobility gain. Forty-eight volunteers were recruited and equally divided into two groups: intervention and control. The intervention group participated in a 6-week program, three-sessions-per-week, of resisted ankle dorsi- and plantar flexion exercises using elastic bands. In the intervention group, maximal isometric dorsi-  and plantar flexors strength, balance and functional mobility increased significantly after the 6-week strength training program. In the control group, no significant differences were detected. In the intervention group, a significant correlation between plantar flexor strength gain and balance gain was found.

The proposed low cost strength training of dorsi- and plantar flexors improved strength, balance and functional mobility in institutionalized elderly people; moreover, the improvement in plantar flexor strength was associated with the improvement in balance.

Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2009 Mar;9(1):75-80

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