Journal of Molecular Biomarkers and Clinical Trials

Effects of Short-Term Resistance Training on Functional Performance, Cognition, Static Postural Control and Gait in Older Adults: A Pilot Study

*Srikant Vallabhajosula
Department Of Physical Therapy Education, Elon University, United States

*Corresponding Author:
Srikant Vallabhajosula
Department Of Physical Therapy Education, Elon University, United States
Email:svallabhajosula@elon.edu

Published on: 2015-10-19

Abstract

Previous studies have examined the efficacy of long-term resistance training for improving health status of older adults. However, long-term programs often encounter adherence issues. Short-term resistance training programs have more clinical utility but their effectiveness to improve cognition, functional performance, postural control and gait in older adults is unknown. Our purpose was to determine the impact of a short-term resistance training program for older adults on cognition, function, postural control and gait. Nine older adults (mean age, 73.4 years) completed four weeks of resistance training consisting of a 30-45 min. session of lower and upper extremity exercises. Functional performance assessments included five times sit-to-stand, 6- minute walk, and hand grip strength. Cognition assessments included Working Memory and Stroop tests. Postural control assessments were standing trials with eyes open/close on a firm/foam surface. Gait was assessed in single- and dual-task conditions. Paired samples t-tests showed that older adults improved postural control when proprioceptive information was not reliable (standing on foam). Also, temporal gait variability reduced under single-task condition but no changes were observed for dual-task condition except for increased step-time variability. There was minimal effect on functional performance and cognition. The effect sizes were moderate to strong only for postural control on foam surface and single-task condition gait variability. Changes in strength due to resistance training could increase the physiologic reserve capacity without necessarily showing improvements in function, cognition, postural control and gait. Overall, short-term resistance training for older adults might show immediate benefits for postural control under more challenging conditions and to reduce gait variability.

Keywords

Posture; Strength training; Gait variability; 6 Minute walk; Geriatrics; Balance

Introduction

Aging reduces muscle strength, impairs cognitive function, slows walking speed and increases the risk of falling by reducing postural control. Sarcopenia or loss of muscle mass is often associated with aging and increased frailty levels in older adults. Numerous studies have investigated the effectiveness of different kinds of interventions to counteract the effects of aging. These interventions include balance training, Tai Chi, yoga and resistance training. In particular, studies have investigated the efficacy of long-term resistance training involving 2 or more months of intervention to improve muscle strength, gait, balance, and fall risk in older adults.