The effects of a strengthening program on muscle function and mobility skills in an elderly institutionalized population

by Judi Newnham

Institution: McGill University
Department: School of Physical and Occupational Therapy.
Degree: MS
Year: 1995
Keywords: Gerontology.; Health Sciences, Rehabilitation and Therapy.; Health Sciences, Human Development.
Record ID: 1670889
Full text PDF: http://digitool.library.mcgill.ca/thesisfile22782.pdf


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a high intensity strengthening program on both muscle function and mobility in an elderly, institutionalized population. Thirty male subjects were randomly assigned to a training group three times per week or to a control "attention" group. Dynamic and isometric strength of the quadriceps, shoulder extensors and elbow flexors were measured by the one repetition maximum (1RM) and a hand-held dynamometer (Nicholas Manual Muscle Tester), respectively. Mobility skills were evaluated with the timed "Up & Go" (TUG) test and by an average walking speed over 30 m. Following the 12 week intervention, post-training evaluations demonstrated significant differences between groups with improved 1RM of both quadriceps (47%), isometric strength of the right shoulder extensors (15%), TUG scores (39%) and average walking speeds (17%). In conclusion, high intensity strength training was found to be not only feasible in the reversal of muscle weakness but also as an effective strategy in attenuating the potential loss of mobility often observed in an elderly, institutionalized population.