The effects of resistance training and walking on functional fitness in advanced old age

J Aging Health. 2006 Feb;18(1):91-105. doi: 10.1177/0898264305281102.


The authors assessed the effects of resistance training and walking exercise on measures of functional fitness. Sixty-four volunteers (average age 83.5 years) from an independent-living facility were randomly assigned to walking, resistance training, or control groups. Participants in the walking and resistance-training groups engaged in two exercise sessions per week for 16 weeks. Measures of functional fitness included upper and lower body strength, hip and shoulder flexibility, agility and balance, coordination, blood pressure, and resting heart rate. Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to examine pretest to posttest differences. Both exercise groups showed significant improvements relative to control group in upper and lower body strength, shoulder flexibility, and agility and balance exercise. Findings demonstrate that exercise can lead to improvements in multiple domains of functional fitness even among very old, previously sedentary individuals, possibly making activities of daily living easier to perform.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged*
  • Aged, 80 and over*
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Physical Fitness*
  • United States
  • Walking*