The effects of an 8-week active-assisted flexibility program on measures of functionality, mobility, power, and range of motion in elderly persons

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Exercise and Sport Sciences

First Committee Member

Joseph F. Signorile - Committee Chair


The benefits of exercise have been well established in many population samples. Among the most important segments of our population requiring innovative and effective exercise training methods is the rapidly growing elderly population. A primary goal when prescribing exercise for this population is to reduce the incidence of dependence and disability. The purpose of this study was to determine if an 8-week active-assisted flexibility training program could significantly improve measures of functionality, mobility, power, and range of motion (ROM) in a group of residents living in an extended care facility. Seventeen participants (4 male, 13 female) over the age of 70 (mean age 88.8 +/- 5.36 years) volunteered to participate in this study. The experimental group performed 10 different active-assisted stretches twice a week for 8 weeks. Functional data were collected prior to and following the training period. Flexibility data were collected every 2 weeks to track changes in ROM over time. Data were analyzed using a repeated measures ANCOVA with the pretest scores used as the covariate. The experimental group demonstrated significant differences in all measurements after the training was completed. Time course data showed significant improvements on all ROM measures by the last testing session and in half of the measures by the fourth week of training. These results suggest that an 8-week active-assisted flexibility training program is an effective method for reducing the impact of aging and for maintaining functionality in elderly persons.


Health Sciences, Recreation

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