Purpose: To assess the effects of a one year nutritional supplementation and resistance training program on muscle strength and walking capacity in the elderly.
Material and methods: Elderly subjects from two outpatient clinics received a nutritional supplement, that provided 400 Kcal, 15 g/protein and 50% of vitamin DRVs per day. Half the subjects receiving and not receiving the supplement were randomly assigned to a resistance exercise training program with two sessions per week. Every six months, body composition using DEXA, limb muscle strength, maximal inspiratory and expiratory pressures and walking capacity were assessed.
Results: One hundred forty nine subjects were considered eligible and 101 (31 supplemented and trained, 28 supplemented, 16 trained and 26 without supplementation nor training) completed the year of follow up. Overall compliance with the supplement was 48 22 % and trained subjects attended 56 21% of programmed sessions. No changes in fat free mass were observed in any of the groups, but fat mass increased from 22.5 7.3 to 23.2 7.3 kg in all groups (p < 0.001). Upper and lower limb strength and walking capacity increased significantly in trained subjects whether supplemented or not. Maximal inspiratory pressure and right hand grip strength increased only in the supplemented and trained group.
Conclusions: Resistance training improved muscle strength and walking capacity.