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Influence of a flexibility training program on psychophysical health of elderly women

  • Authors: Battaglia, G.; Bellafiore, M.; Paoli, A.; Bianco, A.; Palma, A.
  • Publication year: 2014
  • Type: Proceedings (TIPOLOGIA NON ATTIVA)
  • Key words: spinal mouse, elderly people, exercise
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Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the influence of a specific flexibility training program on the spinal health status and the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in female older subjects. Methods: Thirty older women were recruited in a senior centre of Palermo and randomly assigned in two groups: trained group [TG] (n: 17; age: 68.35±6.04 years; BMI: 27.28±3.08) and control group [CG] (n: 13; age: 69.69±7.94 years; BMI: 27.88±2.81). TG was trained for 8 weeks by two sessions/week. In particular, every training session included three phases: warm up (~10 min), central period (~50 min) including specific exercises to train spinal flexibility, and cool down (~10 min)1. CG did not perform any programmed physical activity during the experimental period. Spinal ranges of motion (ROM) were measured from neutral standing position (NSP) to maximum bending position (MBP), and from NSP to maximum extension position (MEP) before and after the experimental period using the SpinalMouse® device (Idiag, Volkerswill, Switzerland). HRQoL was evaluated by SF-36 Health Survey, which assesses patients’ self reported health quality of life using physical and mental composite scores. It investigated two dimensions: physical component summary (PCS-36, physical domain of SF-36, scores ranging from 0 to 70) and mental component summary (MCS-36, mental domain of SF-36, scores ranging from 0 to 70). Results: After the training period, TG showed an increase in thoracic ROM by 22.5% compared to CG from MEP to MBP. We did not observe any significant difference in TG’s lumbar ROM compared to CG after the training period (p>0.05)1. Moreover, we found increased physical (PCS-36) and mental (MCS-36) component summaries after the exercise period in TG compared to CG. Conclusion: We found that the used training program performed for eight weeks could improve the spinal flexibility and the health-related quality of life in female older subjects. In agreement with the 2009 American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) position statement, these data might increase the knowledge about the topic of methodology of geriatric gymnastic and improve psychophysical health status in elderly people. Reference: 1. Battaglia et al. (2014). Changes in spinal range of motion after a flexibility training program in elderly women. Clinical Interventions in Aging 2014:9 653–660