Effects of inspiratory muscle training in elderly women on respiratory muscle strength, diaphragm thickness and mobility

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2014 Dec;69(12):1545-53. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glu182.


Background: Aging results in a decline in the function of the respiratory muscles. Inspiratory muscle training is emerging as a possible intervention to attenuate the decline of respiratory muscles in the elderly. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of inspiratory muscle training on respiratory strength, diaphragm thickness, and diaphragmatic mobility in elderly women.

Methods: This was a controlled, randomized, and double-blind clinical trial, performed on 22 elderly women distributed in two groups, training (TG) and control (CG). Over an 8-week period a moderate intensity inspiratory muscle training protocol was followed in the TG, while CG followed a sham protocol. In addition maximum expiratory and inspiratory pressure, mobility of the diaphragm and diaphragmatic thickness were evaluated by ultrasound.

Results: After training, in TG maximal inspiratory pressure, maximal expiratory pressure, diaphragm thickness, and mobility increased by 37%, 13%, 11%, and 9% respectively, and their values were significantly higher than CG (p < .005, p = .013, p = .001, and p = .001).

Conclusion: Inspiratory muscle training of moderate intensity improves respiratory muscle strength, diaphragm thickness, and diaphragm mobility in elderly women and it should be considered to minimize changes associated with senescence.

Keywords: Aging; Respiratory exercises; Ultrasound and respiratory muscles..

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Diaphragm / diagnostic imaging*
  • Diaphragm / physiopathology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Prognosis
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiopathology*
  • Sarcopenia / diagnostic imaging
  • Sarcopenia / physiopathology
  • Sarcopenia / rehabilitation*
  • Ultrasonography