Short Term Power Exercises Increase Physical Fitness in Middle Aged Adults

By Zocoler, Cesar Augustus; Madureira, Diana et al. | Journal of Physical Education and Sport, July 2018 | Go to article overview

Short Term Power Exercises Increase Physical Fitness in Middle Aged Adults


Zocoler, Cesar Augustus, Madureira, Diana, Santana, Jeferson Oliveira, Ramos, Carla Cristina, Marques, Leandro Ribeiro, Witter, Carla, Rodrigues, Bruno, Caperuto, Erico Chagas, Journal of Physical Education and Sport


Introduction

Functional physical capacities are described, among others, as muscle resistance, agility, balance, flexibility, motor coordination, strength and speed in a classical article [1].

These capacities reach their peak between the age of 20 or 30 years, with a plateau around the age of 40, when the beginning of the aging process starts [2]. From these capacities, strength and speed are between the most studied in the literature, with the sum of them, muscle power, being among the ones who present an important age related functional decrease [3]. Due to the decline of these capacities, some morphological changes also can be noted, starting in the middle age and becoming more marked in the elderly, regarding mainly muscle mass. These changes promote a loss of muscle volume of approximately 30%. Lower limbs are the most affected, with a reduction of 20%, mainly in the medium third of the thigh, analyzed in a cross section view. The end result of this progressive and natural loss observed during the aging process is called Sarcopenia [4]. The European Sarcopenia Consensus, [5] first defined Sarcopenia as a physiological process of muscle mass loss. The main factors that lead to Sarcopenia are hormonal decreases, metabolic and immunologic alterations, associated to structural changes in the muscle fibers that aggravates when is combined with physical inactivity.

Dynapenia is also a phenomenon that is age related. It is regarded as a loss of muscle power with several components involved, among them the loss of muscle mass, motor unit firing rates and selective decrease in the number and size of type II muscle fibers [6]. Due to the muscle mass loss and metabolic rate decrease, the aging individual present an increase in the fat depot, most of the times visible in the beginning of the aging process, causing this individual to be more unstable which latter might lead to changes in the gait, especially in older subjects. That is a concern since it's directly associated with falls and all the problems that come from it [7]. This process is marked in the elderly, but small changes that lead to all the consequences above start much earlier and although it is a visible and predictable process, little attention is given to it, with the consequences being almost a certain future from a slightly unbalanced middle age.

The aging process becomes more intense over 60 years of age [8], but there are losses of muscle mass reported between 30 and 50% between 30 and 80 years. Cardiorespiratory fitness also declines in a non linear manner and it accelerates its pace after 45 years, a lot earlier then old age as defined by the World health organization [9]. Another interesting study that adds the social issue to the topic is the study, reports that in middle aged women intense signs of muscle and function losses in the lower limbs can be noted as soon as 50 years, and that is associated with little exercise due to a busy lifestyle [10].

One well described strategy used to counteract the deleterious consequences of the aging process, at any time point, is exercise. One study [11] conducted for 4 weeks with low volume high intensity exercises showed similar cardiorespiratory improvements for the middle aged group when compared to the young group. It is also stated that older adults who engage in greater amounts of physical activity have more favorable body composition and greater muscle strength when compared to sedentary individuals [12].

However, most of the exercise studies conducted with the middle age or aging population is either with strength exercises or endurance exercises [13], probably because of its safety concerns, the same article still states that there are very few studies with power or high intensity exercise to this population. Interestingly this is a kind of exercise that could affect most of the changes that happen in the aging process.

An active lifestyle is associated with the well succeeded aging process. …

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