Health> Vol.6 No.8, March 2014

Age and Gender-Related Differences in Physical Functions of the Elderly Following One-Year Regular Exercise Therapy

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ABSTRACT

Reports on physical functions during maintenance period of the elderly with cardiac and other serious diseases are limited. This study aims to clarify age and gender-related differences in their physical functions. Participants included 167 elderly individuals (males, 78; mean age, 76.5 years; SD = 6.0 years; females, 89; mean age, 75.5 years; SD = 4.5 years) who participated in a 1-year regular exercise therapy twice a week. The following eight physical function tests were selected: grip strength, 10-m obstacle walking time, one-legged balance with eyes open, sit-ups, sitting trunk flexion, 6-min walk, stepping by sitting position, and a timed up & go (TUG). Two-way analysis of variance was used to examine mean differences by gender and age: young elderly group (aged 65 - 74 years) and old elderly group (aged ≥ 75 years). In the grip strength, sit-ups, 6-min walk, 10-m obstacle walking time, stepping by sitting position, and sitting trunk flexion tests, males were superior in the former four tests, and females were superior in the latter two tests. The young elderly group was superior in all tests except for sit-ups compared with the old elderly group. The balance during one-legged with eyes open test was superior in males compared with females in the young elderly group, but decreased in males in the old elderly group. In conclusion, physical functions of the elderly during maintenance period are different between genders. Muscle strength, muscle endurance, whole-body endurance, and walking ability are superior in males, whereas flexibility and agility are superior in females. The old elderly group was inferior in all the elements of physical function except muscle endurance.

Cite this paper

Sugimoto, H. , Demura, S. and Nagasawa, Y. (2014) Age and Gender-Related Differences in Physical Functions of the Elderly Following One-Year Regular Exercise Therapy. Health, 6, 792-801. doi: 10.4236/health.2014.68101.

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