Progressive resistance training has positive effects on the health of elderly people, however exercise programs for seniors frequently focus on other forms of exercise. This study is a randomised trial with a blinded assessor comparing a community based progressive resistance training program (n = 20) with a flexibility program (n = 20), both one hour twice weekly for 10 weeks. Outcomes were strength, gait, balance and quality of life. Progressive resistance training had a greater effect than flexibility training on right sided quadriceps strength (mean difference between groups = 7.7%; 95% CI 3.6-11.8%, p < 0.003 MANOVA), left sided quadriceps strength (mean difference = 9.9%; 95% CI 5.6-14.2%, p < 0.003 MANOVA), left sided biceps strength (mean difference = 15.2%; 95% CI 11.7-19.2%, p < 0.003 MANOVA), functional reach (mean difference = 11.7%; 95% CI 7.1-16.3%, p < 0.003 MANOVA) and step test (mean difference = 8.6%; 95% CI 3.8-13.4%, p < 0.003 MANOVA). Neither group had improvements in SF36 quality of life measures. Results suggest progressive resistance training produces greater strength, gait and balance improvements in elderly people than a flexibility exercise program.
Barrett, C., & Smerdely, P. (2002). A comparison of community-based resistance exercise and flexibility exercise for seniors. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy, 48(3), 215–219. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0004-9514(14)60226-9