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J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8(1), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8010041

Low Volume, Home-Based Weighted Step Exercise Training Can Improve Lower Limb Muscle Power and Functional Ability in Community-Dwelling Older Women

1
School of Applied Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University, Sighthill Campus, Edinburgh EH11 4BN, Scotland
2
Institute for Sport and Health, University College Dublin, Bellfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 December 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 2 January 2019 / Published: 4 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sarcopenia in Older Adults)
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Abstract

Stepping exercise can be used as a scalable form of high intensity exercise to enhance important aspects of physical fitness in older populations. The addition of supplementary weights increases the resistive element of stepping, with the potential for training improvements in muscular strength, power, and functional abilities alongside other fitness outcomes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a low-volume, home-based weighted step exercise programme on muscular strength, power, and functional ability in previously inactive community-dwelling older women. Eleven participants, aged between 65–74 years, independently completed a six-week individualised and progressive step exercise training programme wearing a weighted vest. Knee extensor strength, lower limb power output, and physical function using a battery of functional tests were measured at baseline, following a 6-week control period, and again following the 6-week training programme. Following training, lower limb power output improved by 10–11% (p < 0.05) and was accompanied by a corresponding 9% (p < 0.01) improvement in stair climb time and 10% (p < 0.01) improvement in normalised stair climbing power, highlighting the beneficial effects of weighted stepping for transferable improvements in functional fitness. The magnitude of observed training improvements suggest that weighted step training has the potential to prolong independence and prevent age-related health conditions such as sarcopenia. View Full-Text
Keywords: exercise; health; ageing; physical fitness exercise; health; ageing; physical fitness
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Mair, J.L.; De Vito, G.; Boreham, C.A. Low Volume, Home-Based Weighted Step Exercise Training Can Improve Lower Limb Muscle Power and Functional Ability in Community-Dwelling Older Women. J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8, 41.

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