Physical activity is beneficial for young people, who are naturally primed to soak up its rewards. The reality is that the majority of today’s youths, however, fall into one of two camps: Either they are athletes, engaging in one or many sports (as well as auxiliary training such as weightlifting and agility work, which can help create lifelong fitness habits) or they are sedentary.
The MCT group was prescribed two weekly exercise sessions of 50-min continuous activity at 70% of peak heart rate, or approximately 13 on the Borg 6–20 rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scale [20]. The HIIT group was prescribed two exercise sessions a week with 10-min warm-up followed by 4 × 4 min intervals at 85–95% of peak heart rate, or approximately 16 on the Borg 6–20 RPE scale. The participants were given individual oral and written information about the training methods, including information about frequency, duration, intensity and examples of exercise sessions. The participants were free to exercise individually, with an exercise type and at a location of their own choosing. Every sixth week the participants met for a supervised spinning session where they exercised with a heart rate monitor. These exercise sessions gave the participants an opportunity to control their intensity during exercise. In addition, organized group exercise was offered twice per week for motivational purposes. Attendance to these exercises was voluntary and the activity performed varied between indoor and outdoor activities such as walking, jogging and aerobics [19]. Besides the two prescribed exercise sessions, the participants were free to exercise as desired.
The aim of this study was to assess the effects of vigorous exercise on functional abilities by means of a Senior Fitness Test (SFT) in a group of elderly adults. Twenty healthy and inactive people performed vigorous exercise (VE: 12 men and 8 women, aged 69.6 ± 3.9 years). At the beginning of the study (T0) and after 3 months (T1), each subject's functional ability was tested for muscular strength, agility, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, and balance. The VE was designed with continuous and interval exercise involving large muscle activities. Functional exercises were performed between 60% and 84% of heart rate reserve (HRR) for a duration of 65 minutes. Five out of the 6 SFTs performed were found significantly improved: Chair Stand (T0 12.4 ± 2.4, T1 13.5 ± 2.6, p < 0.01), Arm Curl (T0 14.2 ± 3.6, T1 16.6 ± 3.6, p < 0.01), 2 min step (T0 98.2 ± 15.7, T1 108.9 ± 16.2, p < 0.01), Chair Sit-and-Reach (T0 −9.9 ± 7.7 cm, T1 1.7 ± 6.3 cm, p < 0.01), and Back Scratch (T0 −15.8 ± 10.9 cm, T1 −8.4 ± 13.1 cm, p < 0.01). Our results suggest that a high intensity protocol and functional exercises can improve functional mobility and muscle endurance in those over 65 years of age. SFTs are an effective method for assessing improvements in the functional capacity of elderly adults.
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