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The effects of an active-assisted stretching program on functional performance in elderly persons: A pilot study

Authors Stanziano DC, Roos BA, Perry AC, Lai S, Signorile J

Published 10 March 2009 Volume 2009:4 Pages 115—120


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Damian C Stanziano1,2, Bernard A Roos1,2,3,4, Arlette C Perry1, Shenghan Lai5, Joseph F Signorile1,3
1Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, USA; 2Stein Gerontological Institute, Miami Jewish Home and Hospital, Miami, FL, USA; 3Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Miami VA Healthcare System, Miami, FL, USA; 4Departments of Medicine and Neurology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA; 5Departments of Pathology and Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA

Abstract: This study examined the impact of an eight-week active-assisted (AA) stretching program on functionality, mobility, power, and range of motion (ROM) in elderly residents of a residential retirement community. Seventeen volunteers (4 male, 13 female; 88.8 ± 5.36 years) were randomly assigned to an AA or control group. The AA group performed 10 different AA stretches targeting the major joints of the body twice weekly for eight weeks. Controls attended classes requiring limited physical activity. All participants were assessed using four fl exibility and six functional tests, one week before and after the eight-week training period. A fully randomized repeated-measures ANCOVA with pretest scores as a covariate was used to detect differences between groups across time. The AA group demonstrated significant increases in ROM for most of the joints evaluated (p < 0.05) and significant increases in all performance measures (p < 0.05). Controls showed no improvements in functional or ROM measures (α = 0.05). Additionally, the AA group showed significantly better performance outcomes across the training period than controls. We conclude that our eight-week flexibility program effectively reduces age-related losses in ROM and improves functional performance in elderly persons with insufficient physical reserves to perform higher-intensity exercises.

Keywords: proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, functionality, exercise, quality of life

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