Kalapotharakos, V. I., et al. (2006). Functional and neuromotor performance in older adults. American Journal of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation, 85(1), 61-67.
The purpose of this study was to compare and contrast the effect of a 12-week aerobic exercise program catered to healthy, inactive older adults, in regards to physical and neuromotor performance.
Fifty-two participants were contacted via telephone calls, advertisements placed in local newspapers and recreational clubs, and friends inviting others to exercise. Through this recruitment process, 42 participants agreed to take part in the study. There were several inclusion criteria, including that participants should be: inactive; nonsmokers; use no medications; have no history of cardiovascular, orthopedic, hypertension, or any other chronic conditions; and have no cognitive impairments or depressive symptoms based on the Mini Mental State Examination.
After participants met the inclusion criteria, they performed a diagnostic treadmill test to determine heart rate and blood pressure with no signs of cardiovascular or respiratory problems. Twenty-two participants met all the testing criteria, and were randomly selected into the exercise group or the control group. Muscle strength was assessed on the lower body on two separate days to determine the heaviest weight lifted, distance was measured to test the longest distance walked, three out of five attempts were used to test the fastest chair lift, and reaction time was assessed to respond to visual signals. The exercise group exercised three times a week for 12 weeks, and the control group did not exercise.
After the exercise period, the following variables improved for the exercise group: one-repetition maximum knee extensors and flexors, muscle strength, walk distance, chair raising time, and whole-body raising time.
As a result of this study, participants who actively participated in exercise improved their overall health. Though aging can decrease physical and neuromotor performance, consistent exercise can aid in improving poor performance and unsteady mobility. The study underscores the importance of maintaining a healthy and exercise-filled lifestyle. Performing regular aerobic activities can increase overall health and decrease premature debilities caused by aging. Light exercise such as walking can greatly affect a person's lifestyle and help decrease falls and other problems associated with aging.