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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 7639842, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/7639842
Research Article

A 12-Week Vigorous Exercise Protocol in a Healthy Group of Persons over 65: Study of Physical Function by means of the Senior Fitness Test

1Department of Medical Sciences, Sport Physiology Laboratory, University of Cagliari, 09124 Cagliari, Italy
2Department of Mechanical, Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Cagliari, 09124 Cagliari, Italy
3Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI), Sardinia, Italy

Received 8 December 2015; Revised 25 March 2016; Accepted 17 April 2016

Academic Editor: Danilo S. Bocalini

Copyright © 2016 Francesco Todde et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

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, ), Arm Curl (T0 14.2 ± 3.6, T1 16.6 ± 3.6, ), 2 min step (T0 98.2 ± 15.7, T1 108.9 ± 16.2, ), Chair Sit-and-Reach (T0 −9.9 ± 7.7 cm, T1 1.7 ± 6.3 cm, ), and Back Scratch (T0 −15.8 ± 10.9 cm, T1 −8.4 ± 13.1 cm, ). 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.