Muscular strength and physical function

School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia 29208, USA.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (Impact Factor: 3.98). 03/2000; 32(2):412-6. DOI: 10.1097/00005768-200002000-00023
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential association of muscular strength and endurance at baseline with the prevalence of functional limitations at follow-up.
Study participants were 3,069 men and 589 women (30-82 yr) who received a clinical examination including a strength evaluation at the Cooper Clinic between 1980 and 1989 and responded to a 1990 mail-back survey. Participants also had to achieve at least 85% of their age-predicted maximal heart rate on a maximal exercise treadmill test and have no history of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, or arthritis at their first visit. A strength index composite score (0-6) was calculated using age- and sex-specific tertiles from bench press, leg press, and sit-up tests. Those scoring 5 or 6 were categorized in the high strength group. Functional health status was assessed by responses to questions about the participant's ability to perform light, moderate, and strenuous recreational, household, daily living, and personal care tasks.
After an average follow-up of 5 yr, 7% of men and 12% of women reported at least one functional limitation. A logistic regression model including age, aerobic fitness, body mass index, and new health problems at follow-up found that, relative to those with lower levels of strength, the odds of reporting functional limitations at follow-up in men and women categorized as having higher levels of strength were 0.56 (95%CI = 0.34, 0.93) and 0.54 (95%CI = 0.21, 1.39), respectively.
These findings, if replicated in other populations, suggest that maintenance of strength throughout the lifespan may reduce the prevalence of functional limitations.

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    • "A decline in functional status is determined at least in part by muscle strength, flexibility, range of motion, physical fitness, and body composition [10,12]. Although older cohorts have the highest risk of developing disability, the association between muscular strength and endurance and the subsequent prevalence of functional limitations found in [13] indicates that this relationship persists even among middle-aged adults. The findings suggest that maintenance of strength throughout the lifespan may reduce the prevalence of functional limitations. "
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