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Changes in spinal range of motion after a flexibility training program in elderly women

Authors Battaglia G, Bellafiore M, Carmazza G, Paoli A, Bianco A, Palma A

Received 21 December 2013

Accepted for publication 11 February 2014

Published 11 April 2014 Volume 2014:9 Pages 653—660


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Giuseppe Battaglia,1,2 Marianna Bellafiore,1,2 Giovanni Caramazza,2 Antonio Paoli,3 Antonino Bianco,1,2 Antonio Palma1,2

1Department of Law, Society, and Sport Sciences, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy; 2Sicilian Regional Sports School of Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI), Sicily, Italy; 3Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Padova, Italy

Background: Aging-related reduced spinal mobility can interfere with the execution of important functional skills and activities in elderly women. Although several studies have shown positive outcomes in response to spinal flexibility training programs, little is known about the management of sets and repetitions in training protocols. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of an 8-week specific and standardized flexibility training program on the range of spinal motion in elderly women.
Methods: Participants were recruited in a senior center of Palermo and randomly assigned in two groups: trained group (TG) and control group (CG), which included 19 and 18 women, respectively. TG was trained for 8 weeks at two sessions/week. In particular, every session included three phases: warm up (~10 minutes), central period (~50 minutes), and cool down (~10 minutes). CG did not perform any physical activity during the experimental period. Spinal ranges of motion (ROM) were measured from neutral standing position to maximum bending position and from neutral standing position to maximum extension position before and after the experimental period, using a SpinalMouse® device (Idiag, Volkerswill, Switzerland).
Results: After the training period, TG showed an increase in spinal inclination by 16.4% (P<0.05), in sacral/hip ROM by 29.2% (P<0.05), and in thoracic ROM by 22.5% (P>0.05) compared with CG from maximum extension position to maximum bending position. We did not observe any significant difference in TG's lumbar ROM compared with CG after the training period (P>0.05).
Conclusion: We found that an 8-week flexibility training program improved ROMs of the spine in elderly women. The training protocol appeared to be practicable for active elderly people with autonomy and the capability for self-care.

Keywords: exercise, ROM, spinal mouse, elderly, physical activity, stretching

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