Training and Detraining Effects on Functional Fitness after a Multicomponent Training in Older Women

Research Centre in Physical Activity Health and Leisure, Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.
Gerontology (Impact Factor: 3.06). 06/2008; 55(1):41-8. DOI: 10.1159/000140681
Source: PubMed


Several studies have been carried out in order to evaluate the potential influence of increased physical activity on the health, biological ageing and functional ability of the elderly. However, only limited information is available on the effects of multicomponent training and detraining on functional performance.
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of 8-month multicomponent training and 3-month detraining on the functional fitness of older women.
Fifty-seven women were randomly assigned to an exercise (n = 32; 68.4 +/- 2.93 years) or a control group (n = 25; 69.6 +/- 4.20 years). The training program consisted of 2 sessions per week of aerobic, strength, balance and flexibility exercises. The functional fitness test battery was performed to assess the physical parameters associated with independent functioning in older adults.
No significant changes were observed in body mass index and cardiovascular endurance as a result of the exercise training. Training induced significant (p < 0.05) improvements in chair stand (27.3%), arm curl (17.4%), chair sit-and-reach (17.4%), up-and-go (11%) and back scratch (14.5%) tests. However, both upper and lower body strength and upper and lower flexibility declined significantly after detraining in the exercise group.
The results of this study highlight the negative effects of interrupting exercise on several physical parameters of functional fitness.

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    • "Over the last few years, we have come across the term successful aging, which refers to physiological and psychological characteristics of and individual rather than population average[14]. Most of aging-associated factors may be positively affected by regular exercise[3,4,7,8,12,23,26,28]. Among important terms used in the field of physical activity and inactivity of older people is the term 'functional fitness', which includes components such as lower and upper body muscle strength, lower and upper body flexibility, aerobic endurance, motor agility/dynamic balance, and body-mass index[26]. "

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    • "However, to retain these benefits induced by regular exercise, participants must remain physically active throughout life. In fact, several studies have reported that detraining caused a partial loss of benefits induced by exercise and even a greater decline to a level below pre-training values (Toraman & Ayceman 2005; Carvalho et al. 2009; Kalapotharakos et al. 2010). To the best of our knowledge, this topic has received no attention in disabled populations in spite of major barriers to physical activity for this group (Mahy et al. 2010). "
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    • "These studies suggested that better results on lipid profile can be found after a multicomponent exercise program compared to others. Therefore, it seems reasonable to suggest that results from a multicomponent functional fitness test are more appropriate to define training status instead of the evaluation of only one component of physical fitness, like cardiovascular capacity [12,17]. "
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