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Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2001 Jul;80(7):503-9.

Progressive resistance muscle strength training of hospitalized frail elderly.

Author information

1
Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (DHS), Little Rock 72205, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether frail elderly patients recuperating from acute illnesses could safely participate in and gain appreciable improvement in muscle strength from progressive resistance muscle strength training.

DESIGN:

Muscle strength (one repetition maximum), functional abilities (sit-to-stand maneuver and 20-sec maximal safe gait speed), and body composition were measured before and at the conclusion of a 10-wk program of lower limb progressive resistance muscle strength training. The nonrandomized study was conducted in a 30-bed geriatric rehabilitation unit of a university-affiliated Veterans Affairs hospital and a 28-bed transitional care unit of a community nursing home. Participants included 19 recuperating elderly subjects (14 male, 5 female; 13 ambulatory, 6 nonambulatory) >64 yr (mean age, 82.8+/-7.9 yr).

RESULTS:

The one repetition maximum increased an average of 74%+/-49% (median, 70%; interquartile range, 38%-95%, and an average of 20+/-13 kg (P = 0.0001). Sit-to-stand maneuver times improved in 15 of 19 cases (79%). Maximum safe gait speeds improved in 10 of 19 cases (53%). Four of the six nonambulatory subjects progressed to ambulatory status. No subject experienced a complication.

CONCLUSIONS:

A carefully monitored program of progressive resistance muscle strength training to regain muscle strength is a safe and possibly effective method for frail elderly recuperating from acute illnesses. A randomized control study is needed to examine the degree to which progressive resistance muscle strength training offers advantages, if any, over routine posthospital care that includes traditional low-intensity physical therapy.

PMID:
11421518
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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