Improving Flexibility and Endurance of Elderly Women Through a Six-Month Training Programme
Purpose. Advancing age is associated with predictable sensory, motor and cognitive changes, which may have a potential impact on an older person's ability to function effectively in society. The purpose of this study was to assess whether two slightly different half-year-long regular training programmes had a positive effect on flexibility, range of motion and endurance in a sample population of elderly persons. Also analysed was which programme was found to be more effective. Methods. A group of women (N = 42, M = 67.1 ± 4.5 years) was chosen from retired persons clubs from Eger, Hungary. They were randomly divided into three groups. The first group (N = 15, M = 66.2 ± 3.8 years) took part in a one-hour-long Pilates training session three times a week, the second group (N = 15, M = 67.1 ± 5.9 years) took part in an aqua-fitness class twice a week with one Pilates class once a week and the third group (N = 12, M = 68.2 ± 3.2 years) was the control group. Pre-and postmeasurements were conducted on: flexion of the right shoulder and hip, lumbar spine flexion, thoracolumbar spine flexion, trunk lateral flexion on the right side, a 6-minute walk test, and a 30-second sit-to-stand test. Significant inter-group differences could be found in all of the measurements. Data were analysed using statistical software with the Paired-Samples T-test and Multivariate Analysis of Variance (p < 0.05). Results. After the six-month regular training programmes no differences were found in the control group. For the two groups subjected to the training programmes all the other variables showed significant differences. The most remarkable results for the Pilates group were with the 6-minute walk and sit-to-stand test, while for the aqua-fitness and Pilates group shoulder and hip flexion. Conclusions. A half-year-long training program can considerably improve the physical performance elderly adults need in everyday life.
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