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R. Forte, C.A.G. Boreham, J. Costaleite, M. Ditroilo, J. Rodrigues-Krause, L. Brennan, E. Gibney, G. De Vito

J Aging Res Clin Practice 2013;2(2):242-248

Background: Progressive resistance training (PRT) and multicomponent training, the latter incorporating neuromotor exercises such as balance, agility and coordination, are currently recommended to maintain functional ability in older individuals. While PRT has proved effective, the efficacy of multicomponent training for healthy individuals is less certain. Objective: This study investigated the efficacy of group-based multicomponent training exercise compared to PRT for improving functional ability, muscular strength and power in healthy, older individuals. Design and Participants: Thirty-nine males and females aged 65 to 75 were allocated to either multicomponent or PRT training twice weekly for three months. They were tested at baseline (T1), following a four-week control period (T2), and post-intervention (T3). Measurements: functional ability by habitual and maximal walking speeds and chair rise time; muscular strength by isometric hand grip and isokinetic knee extension and flexion, and lower limb peak power by countermovement jump. Results: Two-way repeated ANOVA showed effects irrespective of training type for maximal walking speed (+7%; F=11.4 p<0.000), chair rise time (-18%; F= 29.4 p<0.000) and peak power (+8%; F = 24.7; p<0.000). Knee extension (+26%; F = 7.6; p<0.001) and flexion (+35%; F = 11.1; p<0.000) torques increased only with PRT. Conclusions: Both forms of training improved functional ability in healthy older individuals. PRT was confirmed to be effective for the enhancement of both muscular strength and power. Multicomponent training did not enhance strength, although peak power was improved which may be relevant for the maintenance of independence in older people. The present findings add to the limited evidence on the efficacy of multicomponent training in healthy older adults and may help to define exercise recommendations for this population. This may represent an important element in the strategy for the postponement of functional decline and compression of morbidity in this population.

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