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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2003 Feb;13(1):70-6.

Effects of training on functional performance in 65, 75 and 85 year-old women: experiences deriving from community based studies in Odense, Denmark.

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  • 1Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark.


The aim of the Odense training studies is to elucidate if regular physical training influences the expected decline in physical functional ability in order to assess capacity for postponing dependence in old age. All participants were healthy community-dwelling women representing three different age-cohorts of 65, 75 and 85 year-old subjects. The 65 and 85 year-old participants of the training group took part in physical class-based exercises for eight months with one session of 60 min a week, whereas the 75 year-old women trained twice a week over eight months. The multicomponent training consisted of various exercises typically involving body awareness, rhythm, aerobic performance (walking), muscle strength and muscle endurance, flexibility, reaction and balance exercises. Physical ability was measured as physical performance test (PPT), isometric muscle strength of the trunk, hip and leg, aerobic capacity and walking speed. This shows that regular training can significantly improve physical ability of elderly women with regard to PPT, maximal oxygen uptake and maximal walking speed, suggesting that both young-old and old-old women are able to benefit from regular tailored exercise training. Thus, physical training of old community-dwelling women appears to represent a prophylactic remedy that merits further research aimed at evaluating the preliminary findings of the present studies in larger, less selective groups of participants.

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