Influence of strength training intensity on subsequent recovery in elderly

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Abstract

Understanding the influence of strength training intensity on subsequent recovery in elderly is important to avoid reductions in physical function during the days following training. Twenty-two elderly were randomized in two groups: G70 (65.9 ± 4.8 years, n = 11) and G95 (66.9 ± 5.1, n = 11). Baseline tests included maximum voluntary isometric contraction (peak torque and rate of torque development - RTD), countermovement jump, and functional capacity (timed up and go, stairs ascent and descent). Then, both groups performed a single strength training session with intensities of 70% (G70) or 95% (G95) of five repetition maximum. The same tests were repeated immediately, 24 h, 48 h, and 72 h after the session. Peak torque was lower than baseline immediately after for both groups and at 24 h for G95. Compared with G70, G95 had lower peak torque at 24 h and 48 h. Countermovement jump, timed up and go, stairs ascent, and RTD at 0–50 ms only differed from baseline immediately after for both groups. RTD at 0–200 ms was lower than baseline immediately after and 24 h after the session for both groups. In conclusion, reduced physical function immediately after strength training can last for 1–2 days in elderly depending on the type of physical function and intensity of training. Higher intensity resulted in greater impairment. Exercise prescription in elderly should take this into account, e.g., by gradually increasing intensity during the first months of strength training. These results have relevance for elderly who have to be fit for work or other activities in the days following strength training.

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