Effects of physical training on proprioception in older women
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Older adulthood is accompanied by declines in muscular strength, coordination, function, and increased risk of falling. Resistance training increases muscular strength in this population but its effect on proprioception is unknown. To evaluate the effect of resistance training on proprioception, community dwelling older women completed a three-month exercise study. A resistance training (RT) group (N=19) underwent supervised weight training three times per week while a non-strength trained control (NSTC) group (N=19) performed range-of-motion activities that mimicked the movements of the RT group without the benefit of muscle loading. Subjects were evaluated at baseline, 6, and 12 weeks for strength and proprioception. Muscular strength was assessed by measuring the subject’s one repetition maximum performance on four different exercises. Static proprioception was measured by the subject’s ability to reproduce a target knee joint angle while dynamic proprioception was measured by the subject’s ability to detect passive knee motion. The RT group made significant strength improvements compared to the NSTC group. Proprioception significantly improved in both groups by 6 weeks. Our findings suggest that improvements in proprioception can be obtained via regular activity that is independent of heavy muscle loading.