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J Strength Cond Res. 2007 Feb;21(1):91-5.

Resistance training improves metabolic economy during functional tasks in older adults.

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  • 1Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman 73109, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect resistance training has on metabolic economy during typical activities of daily living in a geriatric population. Twenty-nine men and women (age: 66.7 +/- 4.4 years, body mass: 72.3 +/- 11.9 kg) participated in a 26-week heavy-resistance training program. Before and after training, heart rate and expiratory gases were measured for subjects performing 3 tasks that would mimic common everyday activities encountered by this population: (a) walking (WLK) at 3 miles per hour (4.8 km x h(-1)), (b) carrying a box (CAR) to simulate holding a bag of groceries with 1 hand (30% of maximal isometric strength) while walking at 2 miles per hour (3.2 km x h(-1)), and (c) climbing stairs (STR). No time by gender interaction was observed for the WLK, CAR, and STR activities; consequently, the values for men and women were pooled. Both strength and fat-free mass increased significantly (p < or = 0.001) after the training protocol, whereas body mass remained constant. Oxygen cost decreased significantly by 6% (p < or = 0.05) only for CAR, whereas the respiratory exchange ratio decreased significantly (p < or = 0.05) for both WLK (0.84-0.81) and STR (0.87-0.83), and heart rate decreased significantly (p < or = 0.05) only for CAR. After the resistance training program, subjects also reported a significant decrease (p < or = 0.05) in perceived exertion during performance of all functional task test conditions. These results suggest that a heavy-resistance training program might affect exercise economy during daily tasks and improve ease of physical activity, thereby providing a possible mechanism for increasing quality of life in an older and geriatric population.

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