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The reduction of spinal mobility is one luckless consequence of the aging process. In particular, scarcity of exercise appears to be the principal reason of aging-related spinal dysfunction syndrome, which is characterized by adaptive shortening of soft tissue and a partial loss of range of spinal motion (1). Several recommendations promoting the spinal flexibility in elderly people are based on stretching programs that include static and ballistic exercises and PNF techniques (2). Several studies showed that specific training programs could improve body balance (3), bodyweight distribution on feet (4), muscle strength and flexibility (5) in elders. In particular, Imagama et al. (2011) showed that spinal flexibility and resistance training programs may be able to affect positively primary factors related to quality of life, such as lumbar lordosis angle, sagittal balance and spinal ROM in middle-aged and elderly subjects (6).The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a specific flexibility training program on thoracic spinal range of motion (T-ROM) in female older subjects. Thirty older women were randomized into either a trained group [TG] (n: 17; age: 68.35±6.04 years; height: 1.54±0.06 m; weight: 64.78±10.16, kg, BMI: 27.28±3.08) and a control group [CG] (n: 13; age: 69.69±7.94 years; height: 1.57±0.06 m; weight: 68.42±8.18 kg, BMI: 27.88±2.81). Trained subjects were trained for 8 weeks by two sessions/week. In particular, every trained session included: a warm up period (~15 min), a training period (~50 min) including specific exercises to train spinal flexibility, cool down period (~15 min). Control subjects did not perform any programmed physical activity during the experimental period. Data were obtained before and after the experimental phase. Spinal ranges of motion were measured using SpinalMouse® (Idiag, Volkerswill, Switzerland), which is an electronic computer-aided device that measures sagittal spinal ROM and inter-segmental angles non-invasively (6). Each angle was measured three times in a neutral standing (nS) position, maximum extension (maxE) position and maximum bending (maxB) one, and average data were used.At baseline and after experimental period TG and CG were equivalent in age, anthropometric characteristics and Berg balance score. Moreover at baseline two groups showed similar ROMs during sagittal maximum bending and extension of spinal. We found a significant increase in thoracic ROM from nS to maxB position (p<0.05) in TG compared to CG after the training period. Instead, we did not show any signifcant difference in T-ROM from nS to maxE position (p>0.05). In conclusion, our results suggest that well-organized flexibility training programs executed for eight weeks can improve spinal ROM from nS to maxB position and enhance the quality of life in older women. In agreement with the 2009 American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) position statement, we think there is a lack of consensus concerning the prescription of stretching exercises for elderly people (ACSM, 2009). For these reasons it is necessary to increase studies on potential benefits of flexibility-specific training interventions on range of motion (ROM) of elders’ spine. References1. Rider RA, Daly J. Effect of flexibility training on enhancing spinal mobility in older women. Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness. 1991; 31(2): 213-17.2. Pollock ML, Gaesser GA, Butcher JA, Després JP, Dishman RK, Franklin BA, Garber CE. The recommended quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory and muscolar fit
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine2
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2013


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