Aging-related decline in functional mobility is associated with loss of independence. This decline may be mitigated through programs of physical activity. Despite reports of aging-related mobility impairment in middle-aged adults, this age group has been largely overlooked in terms of exercise programs that target functional mobility and the preservation of independence in older age. A method to quantitatively assess changes in functional mobility could direct rehabilitation in a proactive rather than reactive manner. Thirty-three healthy but sedentary middle-aged adults participated in a four week low-volume, vigorous intensity stepping exercise program. Two baseline testing sessions and one post-training testing session were conducted. Functional mobility was assessed using the timed up and go (TUG) test, with its constituent sit-to-walk and walk-to-sit phases examined using a novel inertial sensor-based method. Additionally, semi-tandem balance and knee extensor muscle isometric torque were assessed. Trunk acceleration during walk-to-sit reduced significantly post-training, suggesting altered movement control due to the exercise program. No significant training-induced changes in sit-to-walk acceleration, TUG time, balance or torque were observed. The novel method of functional mobility assessment presented provides a reliable means to quantify subtle changes in mobility during postural transitions. Over time, this exercise program may improve functional mobility.
Doheny, E. P., McGrath, D., Ditroilo, M., Mair, J. L., Greene, B. R., Caulfield, B., de Vito, G., & Lowrey, M. M. (2013). Effects of a Low-Volume, Vigorous Intensity Step Exercise Program on Functional Mobility in Middle-Aged Adults. Annals of Biomedical Engineering, Online. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10439-013-0804-8