Vascular Function in Exercise-Trained Women
L.J. Boyd & B.H. Jacobson, FACSM. *Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma. email: email@example.com
Older adults become less independent with age due to decreases in muscle mass, muscular power, neuromuscular facilitation, and range of motion. An estimated one in three older adults over the age of 65 experience a fall annually. As a result, hip fractures may occur, which are fatal in 12%-20% of cases. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to compare the immediate effects of Whole Body Vibration (WBV) and walking on flexibility in individuals over age 65. METHODS: Participants (N=24) over the age of 70 years (M=77.80±8.64 years) were randomly assigned to a control group (CG), vibration training group (VG), or walking group (WG). Hamstring flexibility was tested at pre- and post-test utilizing the modified sit-and-reach. Each group received an intervention between measurements. Subjects in the CG sat for 10 minutes, WG participants walked for 10 minutes, and the VG completed a 10 minute vibration program at level five. RESULTS: A group by time interaction did occur on the left (F=11.36, p=.000, η2=0.52) and right (F=3.47, p=.05, η2=0.25) hamstrings. Mean differences from pre- to post-test indicated significant improvements in right hamstring flexibility (p<.05) in the walking group from pre- (M=-10.32±-3.61 cm) to post-test (5.56 ±3.35 cm). Changes in the vibration training group approached significance (p=.079). Left hamstring flexibility significantly improved in the VG from -1.91±3.56 inches to -0.32±3.61 cm and WG from -11.27±3.56cm to -5.88 ±3.61 cm (p<.05). CONCLUSION: When comparing flexibility among all three groups, walking provided the largest improvement in flexibility. However, the WG began at a lower level of flexibility than the other two groups, while the VG possessed the highest level of flexibility at pre-test. Evidence suggests both WBV and walking could improve flexibility in older adults over 70 following a 10 minute intervention. Further research should examine the benefits of chronic training in order to expand empirical knowledge of WBV training and flexibility in older adults.