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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1993 Apr;74(4):400-6.

Exercise to improve gait velocity in older persons.

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  • 1Travelers Center on Aging, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington 06030.


The effect of 12 weeks of resistance and balance training on strength and gait measures in older persons was tested in a randomized control trial. Thirty-one residents of two life-care communities volunteered (mean age, 82.1 years). The exercise group (E) trained three times per week, performing resistance training to fatigue for knee extension, hip abduction, ankle dorsiflexion, hip extension, and knee flexion, and postural control exercises. The control group (C) met weekly for flexibility exercises performed sitting in a chair. The exercise group achieved significant improvements in muscle strength and gait velocity (p < .05). Knee extension one maximum repetition increased 32% (24% to 40%, 95% confidence interval [CI]), from 55 +/- to 72 +/- 4N.m. Isokinetic knee extension torque increased 25% (3% to 47%) from 40 +/- 5 to 50 +/- 5N.m at 120 degrees s-1. Usual gait velocity increased 8% (3% to 13%) in E from 1.04 +/- .07 to 1.12 +/- .06m/s. There was a trend of improvement in maximal gait speed 4% (0 to 8%) from 1.43 +/- 0.1 to 1.49 +/- 0.1m/s, p = 0.054. Gait and strength measures in C were unchanged. A short-term exercise program that trained strength and balance achieved a clinically significant improvement in gait velocity.

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