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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 1997 May;52(3):M155-60.

Differences in muscle endurance and recovery between fallers and nonfallers, and between young and older women.

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School of Medicine, Indiana University, Indianapolis, USA.



Significant morbidity and mortality are associated with falls in older adults. We tested the hypothesis that older women with a history of falls demonstrate decreased muscle endurance and longer recovery times following fatiguing exercise.


We evaluated dynamic endurance and recoverability of the quadriceps femoris of 29 young women (YW) (M age = 21.7), 26 older women with a history of falls (FA) (M age = 73.3), and 27 older women with no history of falls (NF) (M age = 71.2) using an isokinetic dynamometer. Subjects performed repeated maximal concentric knee extensions until the force output of two consecutive repetitions fell below 50% of their maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). Recovery was defined as the time required for the return of force output > or = 80% MVC for 2 consecutive repetitions, within a set consisting of 3 maximal contractions. One minute rest was allowed between sets. We collected electromyographic (EMG) data from the quadriceps during all testing to evaluate spectral shifts.


ANOVA with a post-hoc Bonferroni-Dunn test revealed time to fatigue was significantly faster in FA than YW (p < .02) and in FA than NF (p < .05), but not different between YW and NF. Time to recovery was significantly slower in FA than YW (p = .01), but not different between YW and NF, or between FA and NF, EMG median frequency power shift (from the beginning to the end of the test) was significantly less in FA (p < .001) than either YW (p < .002) or NF (p < .05).


Older women with a history of falls demonstrate decreased muscular endurance compared to YW and NF, and increased time to recover from fatiguing exercise when compared to young women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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