strength and autonomy maintenance in senior women, conquered
in previous work of neural adaptation
Gomes Côrtes (CREF 000965-G/RJ)
Programa de Pós-Graduação Stricto Sensu
em Ciência da Motricidade Humana da
Universidade Castelo Branco/RJ
Universidade Estácio de Sá
Fundação Estadual do Norte Fluminense (FENORTE)
Centro Federal de Educação Tecnológica
de Campos dos Goytacazes
Rua Dr. Siqueira nº 294 apt. 704. Parque Tamandaré,
CEP: 28030-131, Campos dos Goytacazes – RJ.
Furtado da Silva, PhD (CREF 005475-G/RJ)
Prof. Titular do Programa de Pós-Graduação
Stricto Sensu em Ciência da Motricidade
Humana da Universidade Castelo Branco/RJ
is followed by many biological changes, such as sarcopenia,
which leeds to muscular strength and functional autonomy
loss. The aim of this study is to observe gains in muscular
strentgh and in autonomy with a diary resistance program
of 12 weeks. Thirty elderly women with ages between 62 and
68 years performed the following exercises: 1RM, getting
up from a seated position (GUSP), getting up from a belly
down position (GUBDP) and a10-meter walk (W10m). In the
last week, this group was divided in 2 (16 and 14 subjects).
The Mainteinance Group (MG) trained once a week for 8 weeks
and the Control Group (CP) had no training at all. After
eight weeks, the CG showed significant loss (P< 0.05)
in all exercises, compared to the MG. However, both groups
kept their times in the functional autonomy tests acquired
in these 12 weeks of training. In conclusion, muscular strenght
gains are still kept even when training is reduced and autonomy
can still be seen when that is no training at all.
Keywords: Aging, neural adaptation, workout
against resistance, maintenance of strength and autonomy
da força muscular e da autonomia, em mulheres idosas,
conquistadas em trabalho prévio de adaptação
base no fato de que o processo de envelhecimento é
acompanhado por muitas alterações orgânicas
e, dentre estas, a sarcopenia que, devido a fatores biológicos,
leva o idoso à perda de força muscular e autonomia
funcional, esta pesquisa tem como objetivo tratar da manutenção
da força muscular e autonomia em idosos, para a execução
das atividades diárias. Realizou-se um trabalho contra
resistência (12 semanas), com ganhos significativos
(p<0,05) nos testes de: 1 RM, Levantar da Posição
Sentado (LPS), Levantar da Posição Decúbito
Ventral (LPDV), Caminhar 10 metros (C10m) em um grupo de
30 mulheres idosas (68 ± 6 anos). Na décima
segunda semana, esse grupo foi dividido em dois subgrupos
(16 e 14 sujeitos), denominados Grupo Manutenção
(GM), que fez treinamento reduzido de uma sessão
por semana, durante 8 semanas, e Grupo Controle (GC), que
não fez o treinamento. Após a oitava semana
de treinamento reduzido (GM) e destreino (GC), o GC apresentou
perdas significativas (p<0,05) nos testes de 1 RM em
todos os exercícios, ao contrário do GM. Todavia,
nos testes de autonomia funcional, os dois grupos (GM e
GC) mantiveram os tempos conquistados nas 12 semanas de
treinamento, indicando que a autonomia funcional pode ser
mantida com atividades do cotidiano. Em conclusão,
o treinamento de força muscular, além de melhorar
diversas funções biológicas, mostra
que os ganhos poderão ser mantidos por 8 semanas
com trabalho reduzido e a autonomia é mantida pelo
mesmo tempo no destreino.
Envelhecimento, adaptação neural, Treinamento
contra resistência, manutenção de força
mantenimiento de fuerza muscular y autonomía en las
mayores mujeres, conquistó en el trabajo anterior
de adaptación neural
en el hecho de que la vejez viene acompañada de muchas
alteraciones orgânicas y, entre estas la sarcopenia
que debito a factores biológicos, lleva al anciano
a la perdida de la fuerza muscular y la vez de la autonomía
funcional. Esta investigación tiene como objetivo
tratar del mantenimiento de la fuerza muscular y autonomía
en las actividades diarias, después de un trabajo
de contra resistencia (12 semanas) con ganâncias significativas
(p<0,05) en pruebas de: 1 RM, levantarse desde la posición
sentada (LPS), levantarse desde la posición decúbito
abdominal (LPDV), caminar 10 metros (C10 m) em un grupo
de 30 mujeres ancianas (68 ± 6 años). En la
duodécima semana ese mismo grupo fue dividido en
dos (16 y 14 sujetos) y llamados: Grupo Mantenimiento (GM),
siendo el que hizo el entrenamiento reducido una vez a la
semana por un periodo de 8 semanas y Grupo Control (GC),
que no hizo el entrenamiento. Después de la octava
semana de entrenamiento reducido (GM) y desentrenamiento
(GC), el GC presentó perdidas significativas (p<0,05)
en las pruebas de 1 RM en todos los ejercicios, en contraposición
del GM. Todavía, en las pruebas de autonomía
funcional, los grupos (GM y GC) mantuvieron los tiempos
conquistados en las 12 semanas de entrenamiento; lo que
demuestra que la autonomía funcional puede ser mantenida
con actividades del cotidiano. Concluyese que el entrenamiento
de fuerza muscular, además de mejorar diversas funciones
biológicas, demuestra que las ganancias podrán
mantenerse por 8 semanas con trabajo reducido y La autonomía
se mantiene por el mismo tiempo en El desentrenamiento.
Palabras clave: vejez, adaptación
neurológica, entrenamiento contra resistencia, mantenimiento
de fuerza y autonomía.
individuals above 60 years lose much of the functional capacity
due to the loss of skeletal muscle mass (sarcopenia), especially,
the type II fibers (Rosenberg, 1997, quoted by Marcell,
2003). These fibers are replaced by fat and conjunctive
tissue and, therefore, this selective loss will favor the
reduction of strength and power. The accumulation of diseases
and the medication use produce side effects which also reduce
the functional capacities. The hormone reduction can, for
instance, favor the accumulation of body fat mass, because
they induce the reduction of daily physical activities of
the elder, the consequence is that they stop using their
muscles, increasing still more the strength and power-related
problems. In this case, women are more affected because
of functional declines already noticed more drastically,
which start about at the age of 50 (Craig, 2002). It is
important to highlight that the training does not hinder
the biological aging and the strength loss, however, it
can minimize this loss and its impact on the elder’s
daily life (Fleck and Kraemer, 1999; Enoka, 2000; Frontera,
Hughes, Fielding, Fiatarone, Evans and Roubenoff, 2000;
Wilmore and Costill, 2002). In studies with men aged on
average 70 years, sarcopenia and muscular strength loss
were significantly reduced by means of strength training
(Trape, Williamson and Godard, 2002; Trape, 2003).
longitudinal alterations in muscular strength differ between
the sexes for determined muscular groupings as the elbow
flexors and extensors with loss of 2% a decade for women
and 12% for men (Hughes, Frontera, Wood, Evans et al, 2001).
This difference is due to the different distribution in
the arm muscles, it is smaller for women than for men. The
consequence is that “women” have less potential
to lose strength in this muscular grouping than “men.”
However, these losses in the quadriceps are equivalent to
each other with the mean of 14% and 16% per decade for knee
extensors and flexors, respectively. In the study herein
the muscular body mass reduced more for men, however it
was not associated significantly to the change of strength,
indicating other forms of contribution for these losses
neurally and metabolically.
researchers have proposed some devices for loss or reduction
of strength and power related to age and “detraining”
such the: 1- musculoskeletal alterations; 2- accumulation
of acute diseases; 3- drugs; 4- reduction of hormonal secretions;
5- disuse atrophy; 6- alterations in the nervous system
(Fleck and Kraemer, 1999; Enoka, 2000; Oliveira and Furtado,
2002; Wilmore and Costill, 2002).
increase of muscular strength was associated for a long
period of time to the increase and size of muscular fiber
(hypertrophy), which it is to some extent all wrong, because
the great muscles have more strength than the smaller ones.
However, not always the gains of strength are derived from
his characteristics, for today it is known that the first
gains of strength are neural adaptations to the movement
and to the strength produced. These adaptations can be inhibitory-excitatory
mechanism of protective nature (Enoka, 2000; Wilmore and
Costill, 2002). Enoka (2000) affirms that “it is possible
to gain some increase of strength without the adaptation
in the muscle, but not without the adaptation in the nervous
system.” Fiatarone et al (1990), Matsudo et al (2000)
and Hãkkinen et al (2001), among others have confirmed
in their studies the initial gains of strength by the neural
Matsudo and Matsudo (2001) and Hakkinen and Komi (1983,
quoted by FLECK and KRAMER, 1999) ratified the thesis of
these researchers and added that the losses for “detraining”
are also due to neural adaptation, indicating the needs
for the constant work so that neural gains are maintained.
In Raso’s study, Matsudo and Matsudo (2001), the negative
effects were demonstrated with interruption of training
for health elderly women in an exercise program with free
weight and the confirmation of significant loss of strength,
mainly in the 8th week of induced interruption. This loss
is generally selective mainly in type II fibers both for
men and women (Marcell, 2003). This becomes another factor
for the movement and maintenance of daily activities for
the other aspects which would make it impossible for the
elderly to train, which would be the minimum training for
this individual not to lose strength and functional autonomy
achieved in the counter-residence training? And for how
long can be kept the daily-life activities or other physical
activities in the work of maintenance with the reduction
of weekly sessions of training, without adding more weights
or any other extra loads? The studies indicated that for
man the muscular strength was maintained in the previous
work, bodybuilding, with only a weekly session for 24 weeks
(Trape, Williamson and Godard, 2002; Trape, 2003).
subject matter is to investigate whether the neural losses
checked in studies of “detraining” would happen
in these situations to elderly women after the training
of counter resistance for 12 weeks and induced reduction
for 8 weeks.
research is experimental-oriented based on one control group
and one experimental group, with interference in the equivalent
variables, muscular strength and its maintenance, demonstrating
the alterations occurred during the intervention in the
situation of cause and effect (Thomas and Nelson, 2002).
The bibliographic survey will support the themes related
to muscular strength and its maintenance for elderly people.
The individuals engaged in the experiment were previously
informed about the whole training and the objective of the
research, being committed freely and voluntarily to take
part of the study herein.
of the sample
sample selection complied with the questionnaire referred
the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire, PAR-Q, drawn
by the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology (ACSM, 2000),
adapted to an elderly population aged equal or greater than
60 years so that they could be considered participants of
it only those who were deemed as healthy, with exception
of those who were sick.
study was conducted with a group of thirty elderly women
aged 60-79 years. Part of the components of this group does
physical activity as hydrogymnastics at CEFET Campos and
in “Club of the elderly”, in Campos dos Goytacazes,
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The individuals of the group of
volunteers should be independent in their daily life activities
and should never have taken part of the resistance training.
The inclusion of criteria was defined as only female individuals
and negative PAR-Q were accepted.
For the research implementation, evaluations of MR (maximum
repetition) and autonomy tests (walking for 10 meters, sitting
and standing up from the chair in the ventral decubitus
positions) were conducted.
necessary instruments for training in the phase of acquisition
and test were working-out equipment 45-degree leg press
and extension and flexion of legs, supine position, high
pulley for triceps curl and low pulley for biceps curl,
belonging to the Estácio de Sá University,
Campos dos Goytacazes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was decided
not to make use of equipment with rings to avoid possible
accidents. For the autonomy t test digital stopwatch was
The pieces of equipment used in the training were mandatory
the same ones for the MR test (1 MR), which is the capacity
which the muscle or muscle grouping has to perform the movement
once, completely and precisely (Wilmore and Costill, 2002).
The movement was dynamic and concentric. The biomechanical
protocol of the movements used in the exercises was the
same for pre-, post- and final training.
the MR tests there was a period dedicated to the familiarization
with the exercise in order to avoid some misunderstanding
about the participants’ lack of experience (Ploutz-Snyder
and Giamis, 2001). Two muscular grouping were tested –
one exercise for the upper limbs and another one for the
lower limbs – the day with an interval of 24 hours
for the new test. The objective of it was to assess the
MR, a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 repetitions before
the concentric failure and avoid that the fatigue of muscle
could interfere in movement ability (Schlicht et al., 2001).
tests of daily life activities (DLA)
The autonomy was evaluated by the tests “walking 10
meters” (W10m) alleged by de Sipilã et al (1996),
“getting up from the seated position (GUSP), Guralnik
et al (1994; 1995), and “getting up from ventral decubitus
position (GUVDP) by Alexander et al (1997).
After the MR and autonomy tests (W10m, GUSP and GUVDP) pre-training,
the exercises were prescribed as follows: in the phase of
strength acquisitions for neural adaptation in the 12 weeks
or 24 sessions, the training for all sample participants
belonging to the group of strength training (GST) (n = 30)
consisted of exercises in bodybuilding equipment an air-conditioned
room with regulated temperature of 22ºC, performed
in two weekly sessions with the minimum interval of 48 hours,
in three series (interval from 2 to 3 minutes between the
series) of 8 repetitions with intensity equal to 60% of
1 MR in the first 4 training sessions, following the recommendations
of ACSM (2000), starting to follow for 75% to 85% of MR
pre-training. The speed was moderate and according to the
users’ discretion who were instructed to decide the
most comfortable pace as possible.
exercises were alternated according to body segment, following
the order of leg extension, supine position, 45 degree leg
press, biceps curl, leg flexion and triceps curl. Each work-out
session was followed by an eight-minute warming-up and a
five-minute stretching at the final of it, about 30 to 40
minutes at maximum. The progressive overtraining of 5% was
applied to adapt the stimulus to 8 MR for each exercise
along the training (Fleck and Kraemer, 1999). All participants
had an individual record in which their training and loads
the twelfth week of training, another 1 MR test was carried
out to evaluate the neural gains of muscular strength. Afterwards
the individuals were divided in two groups. One group underwent
two sessions a week reduced to one, and was referred as
maintenance group (MG) (n=16), keeping the series, repetitions
and loads of the last session. The other group had the resistance
training interrupted, working as control group (CG) (n=14).
In this week, the autonomy tests were also carried out (W10m,
GUSP and GUVDP).
After the eighth week of “detraining” and reduced
training, the new autonomy test and 1 MR tests were carried
out for the whole sample in order to evaluate the possibilities
of strength maintenance and autonomy in one session a week
with reduced loads according to study guidelines.
The data were studied by means of descriptive and inferential
statistics making use of mean references and variances,
analysis of parametric variance and correlations. The hypothesis
which guides the study herein anticipates the possibility
of strength maintenance and functional autonomy with reduced
loads for session a week, as opposed to the CG, with significance
of 5% (p<0.05). The results were shown in tables to make
it easy for comprehension.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
and discussion on the fat percentage
The descriptive results of the GST, MG and CG as regards
the physical characteristics as age, BMI, fat percentage
and by Baumgartner et al.’s protocol (1998) (F%) are
shown in table 1.
mean of fat percentage (F%) of GST 39.21?5.46 shows a limit
classification for morbid obesity, according to ACSM. The
mean BMI of 27.66 kg/m2 shown by the group falls in the
overweight classification (Wilmore and Costill, 2002). The
variances follow the normal distribution. It can be observed
that the groups GST, MG and CG are similar.
obvious that the resistance training produces hypertrophy
and strength in older people; however the effects of it
on the body composition were not thoroughly explained. In
the studies of Newton, Hãkkinen, Hãkkinen,
McCoMRick, Volek and Kraemer (2002) with older individuals
(aged 61-64 years), as the anthropometric measures remained
unchanged and the fat percentage remained statistically
insignificant for the resistance training three sessions
a week during 10 weeks. In this study, the protocol is short
and without theoretical basis for studies on the body composition.
and discussion of strength training (GST)
results of the GST as regards the scores of maximum strength
measured by means of the 1MR test in kg and percentage variation
before starting the training (pre-test) and after 12 weeks
of training (post-test) (cf. table 2).
to the table 2, one can notice that the gain were impressive,
however the greatest percentages of lower limbs are relevant
as regards when an old person gets autonomy to move independently.
The t test was conducted for paired observations, with level
of significance of 5% to check the efficiency of strength
gain for the GST (pre and post-test). As the results shown
in table 3, the strength gains were significant (p<0.05)
for all exercises. When the GST was divided in MG and CG,
the very significance was obtained for both groups (pre
and post-test) (cf. tables 4 and 5).
protocol of this study - intensity of used load as well
as the repetitions and weekly frequency – is in accordance
with Willoughby (2003) which suggest workloads of 65% the
85% of 1 MR, with repetitions from 6 to 14 per exercise,
1-3 series per exercise and ideal frequency twice a week,
because Staler et al.’s study (1996), the values 28.5%
and 27% for 2-3 sessions per week, respectively were similar
without the need of more days. The participants of this
study obtained a mean and significant increase in the maximum
strength, varying from 13.10% to 14.40% of 1MR for upper
limbs and from 25.90% to 43.50% of 1MR for the lower limbs.
the GST was divided in maintenance group (MG) and control
of the training for mg and CG
As shown in the methodology section, the MG has training
sessions reduced for one session a week, keeping the workload,
series and repetitions of the last session. From the 12th
week, this group was submitted to an evaluation for the
post-training and, after 8 weeks of training reduction up
to the final evaluation. The CG did not perform any type
of training with workloads for 8 weeks and was submitted
to the same evaluations.
6, descriptive results were shown for both groups as regards
the scores of maximum strength, measured by the 1MR test
in the pre- and post-training, with percentage variation
of maintenance and loss of strength in the final test.
is observed that for the MG all variables were kept in the
final test, with slight decrease in the supine (-0.5 %)
and triceps (-0.9 %), however besides maintaining the achieved
strength in the training of 12 weeks, a small gain of strength
in the exercises was observed. This increase has not much
statistical significance, but it is relevant because it
is about the maintenance of muscular strength achieved in
the previous work. The variables, leg extension, leg flexion
and leg press, had the best results. In the study herein,
lower limbs were gained more strength (41.6% for leg extension,
44.6% for leg press and 28% for leg flexion) and, also,
the ones which were able to retain muscular strength impressively
and add gains to the previous work for extensor, flexor
and leg press (+5.2%, +0.8% and +9.3%, respectively).
from the MG, the CG had impressive losses in the final test
final, however the greatest losses concentrate on the lower
limbs with -17.6% for leg extension , -13.0% for leg press
and -12.8% for leg flexion. This more accentuated loss can
be explained by greater gains obtained by these muscles
in relation to the upper limbs in the 12 weeks of strength
training, therefore losing more. The values herein, according
to Landers et al’s studies (2001), which compared
young women with old ones and found that the latter lost
more strength relative to body weight in the lower limbs.
the significance of the experiment, the t test of arithmetic
differences was applied. It was observed that the MG did
not have relevant alterations from the maximum strength
in the test after 8 weeks of training reduction in all exercises,
opposed to the CG, which lost strength in 1 MR test. Six
variables — leg flexion, supine, leg press, biceps,
leg flexion and triceps — had some differences in
the experiment, followed the normal distribution for the
post-test, however in the final test, the groups were different
with level of significance within the established parameters
(p<0.05) for this experiment. Nevertheless, in the final
test, the variable triceps did not achieve the established
level of significance (p<0.05), but a p value closer
to what was established was observed; therefore it is likely
that a decrease would achieve the level of significance
of 5%, if the detraining kept for an extra week. But, out
of six exercises, only this only did not live up to the
expectations, even so, the values found are closer to the
of results relative to maintenance and loss of strength
for the groups MG AND CG after 8 weeks of reduction and
detraining for strength training
older adult to maintain the strength and the size of the
muscles is essential for an independent life with quality.
For young athletes, the maintenance of muscular strength
for 6 weeks or even for longer periods of times was noticed,
with reduced trainings for a session every 10 or 14 days,
as long as the intensity is enough to retain this strength
(Wilmore and Costill, 2002).
sense, Trappe, Williamson and Godard (2002) studied the
“detraining” on 10 older men for 24 weeks, and
noticed that a session a week was enough to maintain strength
and muscular mass after a training program of 12 weeks and
three sessions. These authors affirmed that in the first
weeks of detraining, the loss of strength is greatly caused
by neural mechanisms in relation to the muscular atrophy
contributing for additional loss as the detraining goes
on. In this study, the individuals were women only and,
similarly to men, they were able to maintain the achieved
strength in the previous work for more 8 weeks, using the
last workload with significant results. This is relevant
for the elderly on the grounds that the muscles are useful
and important for movement.
The social implication such as time management, costs and
compliance with the training for elderly populations are
remarkably important (Trappe, Williamson and Godard, 2002),
due to the fact that the work done once a week seems to
be efficient, according to the study herein, maintaining
the muscular strength and some possibility of reducing the
number of falls and accidents deriving from lack of physical
of the autonomy tests (DLA) for the GST, MG and CG
results of the functional autonomy tests: GUSP, GUVDP and
W10m for DLA for the pre- and post-test of GST and the results
for the groups MG and CG. (cf. table 8)
analyzing table 8, an inverse relation between the strength
gains and the times for the autonomy tests for the groups
GST, MG and CG, in the pre and post-test was observed. For
further information, table 9 shows the percentage variation
for all tests in different phases. The percentages of improvement
for the autonomy tests in the pre- and post-test test can
be observed, and the maintenance for the MG and CG in the
final test. Table 10 indicates the efficiency of strength
gain in the pre- and post-test, for these three tests (GUSP,
GUVDP and W10m) for all groups. The t test was applied for
paired observations with significance of 5%.
observing table 10, it was noticed that the groups presented
differently as regard the significance in the GUSP test.
The GST (n= 30) had significance, however when this group
was divided into MG (n= 16) and CG (n= 14), the results
were not significant in this test. This may be consequence
of the sample reduction, however the sample total will be
considered as significant, i.e., the GST group.
best times found in it, for the GST group, can be explained
by means of an improvement of the posture and balance control
(Ringsberg et al, 2001), on the grounds that the strength
gains are followed by a greater neural voluntary activation,
and therefore the development of neuromuscular functions
(Häkkinen et al, 2001).
of the correlation between exercises and autonomy tests
for the GST
the linear relation between the variable muscular strength
for each exercise, with the times for the autonomy tests,
Pearson’s coefficient was used. To check the significance
to the level of 5% the value of the coefficient of correlation
for the sample, the "t test for the correlation coefficient"
was used. The correlation was carried out only for the exercises
in which the worked muscles were important for fulfillment
of the test. In this way, it was correlated GUSP with leg
press and leg extension; GUVDP with leg extension; leg press,
supine and triceps and W10m with leg extension; leg press
and leg flexion.
table 11 shows the correlation of strength developed in
the leg press and leg extension with or GUSP test and or
t test for correlation coefficient. A tendency of negative
correlation of muscular strength of the leg press and leg
extension exercises with time of fulfillment of the GUSP
test was observed, however this correlation had little significance.
table 12 shows the correlation of strength developed in
the leg extension, supine, leg press and triceps with or
test GUVDP and or t test correlation coefficient. A tendency
of negative correlation of muscular strength of the leg
press, leg extension exercises and supine with time of fulfillment
of the GUSP test was observed, however this did not occur
for the triceps which, opposing to the expectations, had
a negative correlation. In no variable there was significance
table 13 shows the correlation of strength developed in
the leg extension, leg press and leg flexion in relation
to the W10m test and t test for the correlation coefficient.
A tendency of negative correlation of muscular strength
of the leg extension, leg press and leg flexion exercises
with time of fulfillment of the W10am test was observed,
without significance for the correlation between the variables
and the time of fulfillment of the test.
on the correlation of strength developed in the exercises
with the times of the autonomy tests for the GST
Analyzing the data in the tables 11, 12 and 13, it is possible
to infer that there is a tendency of negative correlation
of strength gains with smaller times in the autonomy tests.
However, this correlation had no significance for any of
the exercises, what was not expected to some extent, because
other studies such Geraldes’s (2000), in which straight
supine had significant correlation with the GUVDP test ,
and Kwon, Oldaker, Schrager, Talbot et al.’s (2001),
relating the strength in the knee extensor with walk, they
go against the findings as regards the significance of this
findings should be seen carefully, as it is not possible
to reach any final answer, because most individuals involved
in the study were already active and, therefore, they were
independent and the strength gains did not correlate significantly
to the times of the autonomy test. Further studies prove
to be necessary before reaching to a final answer about
on the results of the autonomy test for the GST
the aging process, women are particularly more vulnerable
to lack of physical aptitude on the grounds that they have
an initial reserve of smaller muscular mass in relation
to mean mainly due to the anabolic hormones (Fiatorone,
2002). In this context, there is a relation to the loss
of muscular strength, autonomy and independence, what leads
the elderly women to have important functional losses such
as walk velocity, capacity of going upstairs, getting up
from a chair gaining the balance after stumbling, which
may be retarded by exercising consistently as suggested
by Frontera et al. (2000).
and aerobic exercises are highly recommended, however the
capacity of physical exercise and autonomy will not be maintained
only with these activities. In certain cases, these activities
are even not recommended, for example, in the case of people
with high risk of falls, because these individuals need
strength work to overtrain the muscles and prevent sarcopenia.
effect of strength training in individuals aged 70-84 years
was strongly related to the fall prevention, to the improvement
of mobility and fulfillment of daily activities. In this
way, the elderly become more active and independent (Stephenson,
2002; Braunstein, 2003 and Ringsberg et al, 2001) because
the neuromuscular functions are preserved and enhanced,
obtaining a preventive effect against aging-related problems
(Silva and Matsuura, 2002). In accordance with these authors,
Ringsberg et al. (2001) in longitudinal studies (20 years)
pointed out some significant reduction of fall risk in active
people mainly because of the improvement of neuromuscular
functions. Gill (2002) noticed some improvement up to 45%
in daily activities for individuals who had work of strength,
opposed to the GC who did not do any physical activity.
In this way, this kind of work retards the problems related
study, when compared to the sedentary of Pereira et al.’s
study (2003) the evidences about the benefits of keeping
active are greater, while in the fulfillment of autonomy
test autonomy, the sedentary obtained times in seconds equal
to13.71 and 29.57 for W10m, 18.86 and 20.21 for GUSP and
6.36 and 10 for GUVDP. In this study times were recorded
in seconds equal to 6.50, 10.78 and 3.77 for W10m, GUSP
and GUVDP, respectively, all were pretty smaller and significant.
Oldaker, Schrager, Talbot et al. (2001) found out that the
strength of knee extensor was related negatively to time
of walk for women. This suggests that is necessary to perform
strength training for these populations on the grounds that
women have small body complexion so they may be more vulnerable
to face difficulties in walking as ages advances.
checked the tendency of negative correlation of the effects
of strength training in the exercises of leg extension,
leg press (quadriceps) and leg flexion (posterior thigh),
with the velocity of walk reaching the mean of 7.27 seconds
in the pre-test, reducing to 6.50 seconds in the post-test,
reinforcing other studies with older adults (Moreland et
al. 2003; Schlicht, Camaione and Owen 2001).
results hereto found with the W10m test is equivalent to
other studies which carried out resistance training such
as localized muscular resistance (Aragão, 2002),
with times of 7 seconds, and strength training (Geraldes,
2000; Hauer et al., 2002; Schlicht et al. 2001 and Vale
et al, 2003), with times ranging from 5.6 to 5.35 seconds.
At the end of the experiment, the GST reached 6.50 seconds
for the W10m test was significant, according to the results
of the t test for comparisons of the means with strength
gains. These times are equivalent to the act of crossing
safely a crossroad on foot, what bring autonomy for the
elderly without the need of company.
studies of Schot et al. (2003), an important correlation
was noticed for the GUSP test after a three-series strength
training of 7-10 repetitions with approximate intensity
of 80% of 1MR and three sessions per week. The velocity
of the GUSP test increased, with significant reduction in
the time of performance of the post-test. This reduction
also occurred in other studies (Aragão, 2002; Hauer
et al. 2002 and Schlicht et al. 2001) with resistance training.
The results of these studies are similar to the ones obtained
by this very study in relation to the GUSP test, with times
of 10.78 seconds for the GST.
of negative correlation was checked between the strength
gains strength for these exercises leg extension and leg
press with this test. These times suggest that the individuals
of it can sit down and stand up by themselves without the
help of somebody else.
autonomy test GUVDP, the results for the GST were significant,
with times of 3.77 seconds of mean, and had a tendency of
negative correlation with strength gains in the exercises
straight supine, leg extension and leg press. These finding
were similar to the ones of other studies, for example,
Geraldes’s studies (2000), with time of 4.1 seconds,
that although the LDD has been used, an inverse and significant
correlation for the straight supine was found.
Aragão (2002) found the same positive result for
this test with training of localized muscular resistance,
while Vale et al. (2003) on a work of strength found similar
answers with 2.54 seconds. For the sedentary, the times
were quite worse: 6.36 to 10 seconds (Pereira et al, 2003),
showing the importance of physical activity for older people.
This test indicates that the individuals are able to lie
down and getting up from bed by themselves.
practice of physical activity is recommended during the
whole life as a way of prevention and the effect of strength
training on seventy-five-year-old women was strongly related
to the preservation of the high bone mineral density and
low risk of fracture (Gerdhem, 2003), besides preventing
efficiently the falls in people aged 70-84 years (Stephenson,
2002; Braunstein, 2003 and Ringsberg et al, 2001). As a
consequence, the elderly become more active and, therefore,
have minimized their dependence in relation to others as
well as increased their autonomy for daily activities.
and discussion on the MG and CG
The results of the tests of functional autonomy for DLA
for the MG and CG for the duly comparisons in the post-
and final test are shown (cf. table 14)
the table 14, it was observed that the groups (MG and CG)
reached the final autonomy test (GUSP, GUVDP and W10m) without
significant change, because the t calculated value is smaller
than the absolute value of the lower or upper critical value.
It can be also be analyzed by the p value, greater than
the level of significance (p<0.05). In this manner, one
cannot rule out the null hypothesis for the autonomy tests.
MG had an impressive improvement in relation to the times
of performance of the tests. In addition, it was observed
that the means of times for the W10m, GUVDP and GUSP tests
did not reduce significantly, indicating that once preserved
the muscular strength, the gains for DLA will be kept, reinforcing
to some extent the hypothesis of this study. The results
suggest the autonomy can be maintained for long periods
of reduced training.
it was observed that the CG, although it had reduced the
time of performance of the tests with the interruption of
strength training, these were not significant (for p<0.05)
and, unexpectedly, it maintained the achieved gains, which
would go against the hypothesis raised by this study that
there would be similar losses to those found in the strength
(MR). Nevertheless, based on the reports and as speculated
by Raso et al (2001) and Gill (2002), this may be occurred
due to a likely increase of voluntary physical activity.
This fact may partially explain the greater capacity of
maintenance of the times achieved in the post-tests. In
this way, the autonomy for CG can be maintained for eight
weeks with several physical activities deriving mainly from
greater mobility, with non-controled, indirect work, and
thus as the MG did in relation to the interference of the
reduced training. However, this cannot be considered a disadvantage
for the study, once the strength resistance training was
efficient because it improves the functional autonomy for
the GST and keep it for the MG and CG. This suggests that
positive effect of training can last for over 8 weeks.
to the findings, one can conclude that GST composed of elderly
women aged over 60 years obtained significant correlation
(p<0.05) between the levels of maximum strength, functional
autonomy in DLA. The experimental groups (MG and CG, composed
of elderly women of the GST showed different patterns of
behavior when compared in the 1MR and autonomy tests. MG
individuals were able to maintain the strength (p<0.05)
for a period of 8 weeks with reduced training for once a
week with workloads equal to that of the last session of
strength training for 12 weeks. When compared intergroups,
it was noticed that the CG were not able to maintain the
strength as proportionate as for the MG, with significant
losses. These results indicate that the strength achieved
by neural adaptation can be preserved for longer period
of reduced training, providing the users with time management
guidance for the promotion of compliance.
individuals reported that they would get on the bus easily,
clean the house without tiring themselves as previously
said, walk better, be stronger to get up from the armchair
or bed and fall less or stopped falling after the strength
training. It was also observed, besides the strength development
and reduction of times for the pre- and post-tests of autonomy,
the perception of exertion were clearly reduced, reinforcing
Ades’s (1996) and Kevin’s studies (2001).
when the experiment groups were compared in the autonomy
tests at the end of the experiment, in order to prove the
hypothesis that they would lose proportionately to the absolute
strength losses, surprisingly the differences were not significant.
This result as speculated by Raso et al (2001) and Gill
(2002) indicates that the increase of voluntary physical
activity would explain the greater capacity of retention
of times achieved in the final test of autonomy, although
for the MR tests the losses of absolute strength have been
significant. In this manner, it is likely that daily life
activities may be kept for 8 weeks with other physical activities
linked to day-to-day’s individuals, without necessarily
resistance training. One can infer that the individuals
in this study gained life quality once from an axiological
standpoint, the increase of muscular strength provide them
with pleasure in leading their lives actively, independently,
without depriving them of their mobility.
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