Resistance training on an outdoor exercise structure improves lower body relative strength in older adults

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University of New Brunswick


Improving relative strength is important for maintaining functionality with age, and outdoor exercise structures could be useful to facilitate this. 29 adults aged 65+ participated in a crossover study with a six-week control followed by a six-week resistance training intervention on an outdoor exercise structure (3x/week). Relative strength (predicted maximal leg press/lower body lean mass (Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry)) and physical function variables were measured at baseline, post-control, and post-intervention. Represented as median (25th -75th), lower body relative strength improved from 7.91 (7.01- 9.35) post-control to 8.50 (7.99-9.72) post-intervention (p=.002) in study completers (n=17). Maximum leg press (p=.002), 30-second chair stand (p<.001), one-leg stance (p=.011), and maximum chest press (p=.009) also improved significantly during the intervention. There were no significant changes in aerobic activity, grip strength, lean mass, or muscle power. This study demonstrates that there could be potential relative strength benefits associated with the use of outdoor exercise structures in older adults.