Effect of a 12-month physical conditioning programme on the metabolic cost of walking in healthy older adults

Omar S Mian, Jeanette M Thom, Luca P Ardigò, Christopher I Morse, Marco V Narici, Alberto E Minetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The metabolic cost of walking (C(W)) is increased in healthy older adults. Previously, this has been suggested to be associated with age-related decline in physiological/functional factors such as stability and muscle size and strength. Physical training can improve such factors as well as aspects of gait performance in older adults. The aim of this investigation was to determine if it also has a beneficial impact on (lowers) C(W). Thirty-eight community dwelling older adults (aged 70-82 years) assigned to a training group (TRA, n=25) or a control group (CON, n=13) participated in a 12-month intervention. TRA followed a multi-component physical conditioning programme involving supervised resistance, aerobic, and balance exercises twice per week. They also undertook home based exercises once per week. CON carried on with their normal daily activities. C(W) and indicators of functional capacity (knee extensor isometric strength, single leg balance time, sit and reach, stand and reach, and 6 min walk distance) were assessed prior to and following the intervention. Significant improvements in knee extensor isometric strength (+21%), single leg balance time (+30%), and 6 min walk distance (+6%) were observed in TRA (P<0.05) but not in CON. However, no change in C(W) was observed. In conclusion, this investigation has shown that a multi-component physical conditioning programme had a beneficial impact on functional capacity but did not lower C(W) in healthy community dwelling older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-505
Number of pages7
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Physical Fitness
  • Postural Balance
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Time Factors
  • Walking

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