Effects of a low-volume, vigorous intensity step exercise program on functional mobility in middle-aged adults

Ann Biomed Eng. 2013 Aug;41(8):1748-57. doi: 10.1007/s10439-013-0804-8. Epub 2013 Apr 9.

Abstract

Aging-related decline in functional mobility is associated with loss of independence. This decline may be mitigated through programs of physical activity. Despite reports of aging-related mobility impairment in middle-aged adults, this age group has been largely overlooked in terms of exercise programs that target functional mobility and the preservation of independence in older age. A method to quantitatively assess changes in functional mobility could direct rehabilitation in a proactive rather than reactive manner. Thirty-three healthy but sedentary middle-aged adults participated in a four week low-volume, vigorous intensity stepping exercise program. Two baseline testing sessions and one post-training testing session were conducted. Functional mobility was assessed using the timed up and go (TUG) test, with its constituent sit-to-walk and walk-to-sit phases examined using a novel inertial sensor-based method. Additionally, semi-tandem balance and knee extensor muscle isometric torque were assessed. Trunk acceleration during walk-to-sit reduced significantly post-training, suggesting altered movement control due to the exercise program. No significant training-induced changes in sit-to-walk acceleration, TUG time, balance or torque were observed. The novel method of functional mobility assessment presented provides a reliable means to quantify subtle changes in mobility during postural transitions. Over time, this exercise program may improve functional mobility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Aged
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Walking / physiology*