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Medicina dello Sport 2020 September;73(3):534-46

DOI: 10.23736/S0025-7826.20.03598-X


language: English, Italian

Effect of a locomotion training program according to an individual’s lower extremity functions for the elderly

Shaoshuai SHEN 1, 2 , Ayane SATO 3, Tomohiro OKURA 2

1 Institute of Health and Sports Science and Medicine, Juntendo University, Inzai, Japan; 2 Faculty of Regional Collaboration, Kochi University, Kochi, Japan; 3 Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan


BACKGROUND: Most previous studies have reported that locomotion training is effective in improving motor functions in the elderly. However, existing locomotion training programs are uniform, and no tailor-made programs exist for different lower-extremity function levels. To this end, this study examined the effect of locomotion training on motor function in the elderly over a duration of eight weeks, according to their individual lower-extremity functions.
METHODS: Participants (N.=28; 19 women) were aged 70.3±4.2 years. After an eight-week control period, an eight-week intervention was conducted. During the intervention, lower-extremity muscle strength and balance ability were measured to reflect lower-limb function once every two weeks. We designed an exercise pattern (such as number of squats/day) to be included in the participants’ locomotion training, based on the results of the lower-extremity muscle strength and balance ability. The participants were made to perform the five-times sit-to-stand test and one-leg standing tests with eyes open, at the start of the control period (Pre1) as well as before (Pre2) and after the intervention (Post).
RESULTS: The lower-extremity functions of the participants significantly improved when the participants performed the Five-times sit-to-stand test between Pre2 and Post (P<0.001); the functions were significantly improved when the Five-times sit-to-stand test and One-leg standing test with eyes open were performed after Post, compared with when the tests were performed before Pre1 (P<0.05). Moreover, a moderately inverse correlation was found between the lower extremity muscular strength (RFD87.5/w) and the five-times sit-to-stand test (r: -0.388; P<0.05) at Pre1 and (r: -0.456; P<0.05) at Post.
CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that locomotion training according to an individual’s lower extremity functions effectively improves their motor functions.

KEY WORDS: Locomotion; Aged; Lower extremity

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