Author(s):Celia Cohen Barros, Célia Pereira Caldas
Purpose: It has been established that physical exercise generally improves the physical performance of older people. This finding has led to an increase in studies into the most efficient forms of exercise. The aim of this study was to compare the efficiency of three types of exercise: aerobic, strength and muscle power, in improving the functional capacity of older people. Methods: A study was undertaken of 123 physically independent older women who did no physical exercise. The women were placed randomly into four groups: a Control Group (CG, n = 33) who did no exercise; an Aerobic Group (AG, n = 30) who did mild intensity muscle resistance exercises, combined with medium intensity gait training; a Strength Group (SG, n = 30) which performed high resistance localized exercises; and a Power Group (PG, n = 30) which did high-speed localized medium resistance exercises. The tests applied were aerobic endurance: six minute walking test (6MWT); maximum strength: one repetition maximum test (1RM); power: Tendo Weightlifting Analyzer (TWA); and agility: standing and walking. AG, SG and PG underwent 24 exercise sessions. Results: All the groups except for CG demonstrated significant improvement in all the tests applied. There were non-statistically significant differences between the gains made by the AG, SG and PG groups in the 6MWT, power and agility tests. SG was significantly superior to the other groups in the 1RM test. Conclusions: Aerobic, strength and muscle training improved the functional capacity of older people. SG was notably superior to the other groups in the 1RM test.
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