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Resistance Training on Physical Performance in Disabled Older Female Cardiac Patients


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: August 2003 - Volume 35 - Issue 8 - p 1265-1270
doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000079044.21828.0E
CLINICAL SCIENCES: Clinical Investigations

ADES, P. A., P. D. SAVAGE, M. E. CRESS, M. BROCHU, N. M. LEE, and E. T. POEHLMAN. Resistance Training on Physical Performance in Disabled Older Female Cardiac Patients. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 35, No. 8, pp. 1265–1270, 2003.

Purpose We evaluated the value of resistance training on measures of physical performance in disabled older women with coronary heart disease (CHD).

Methods The study intervention consisted of a 6-month program of resistance training in a randomized controlled trial format. Training intensity was at 80% of the single-repetition maximal lift. Control patients performed light yoga and breathing exercises. Study participants included 42 women with CHD, all ≥ 65 yr of age and community dwelling. Subjects were screened by questionnaire to have low self-reported physical function. The primary study measurements related to the performance of 16 household activities of the Continuous Scale Physical Functional Performance test (CSPFP). These ranged from dressing, to kitchen and cleaning activities, to carrying groceries and walking onto a bus with luggage, and a 6-min walk. Activities were measured in time to complete a task, weight carried during a task, or distance walked. Other measures included body composition, measures of aerobic fitness and strength, and questionnaire-based measures of physical function and depression score.

Results Study groups were similar at baseline by age, aerobic capacity, strength, body composition, and in performing the CSPFP. After conditioning, 13 of 16 measured activities were performed more rapidly, or with increased weight carried, compared with the control group (all P < 0.05). Maximal power for activities that involved weight-bearing over a distance, increased by 40% (P < 0.05).

Conclusions Disabled older women with CHD who participate in an intense resistance-training program improve physical capacity over a wide range of household physical activities. Benefits extend beyond strength-related activities, as endurance, balance, coordination, and flexibility all improved. Strength training should be considered an important component in the rehabilitation of older women with CHD.

1Division of Cardiology, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT;

2Department of Exercise Science and Gerontology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA; and

3Department of Kinesiology and

4Department of Nutrition, University of Montreal, Montreal, CANADA

Address for correspondence: Philip A. Ades, M.D., McClure 1, Cardiology, Fletcher-Allen Health Care, Burlington, VT 05401; E-mail: Philip.Ades@

Submitted for publication December 2002.

Accepted for publication April 2003.

©2003The American College of Sports Medicine