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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1995 Apr;76(4):373-80.

Physical determinants of independence in mature women.

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  • 1Division of Geriatric Medicine, Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19129, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship in mature women between muscle strength and whole body oxidative capacity and the ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL). Sixty-one women (mean age 69 years) without major disease or disability were recruited from either a community exercise center or a personal care facility. Physiological measurements consisted of peak oxygen consumption on a cycle ergometer (VO2peak) and one repetition maximum strength of nine muscle groups (1-RM). Ability to perform ADL was measured with a balance and gait test, "Bag Carrying Test", and ADL questionnaires. Significant correlations were found with VO2peak and calf muscle strength and ability to perform ADL, with weaker or no correlations for other muscle groups. For some relationships, it was possible to identify the minimum level of physiological functioning associated with successful performance of independence tasks. In summary, physiological capacities, particularly VO2peak and strength of the calf muscles, predicted ability to perform activities needed for functional independence in healthy mature women.

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