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Effects of Different Stretching Programs on People Over the Age of 55 Years

Jon Ander Jayo-Montoya, Sara Maldonado-Martín, Aittor Loroño-Mugarza

Jayo-Montoya, J. A., Maldonado-Martín, S., & Loroño-Mugarza, A. (2019). Effects of Different Stretching Programs on People Over the Age of 55 Years. Apunts. Educación Física y Deportes, 136, 9-21. doi:10.5672/apunts.2014-0983.es.(2019/2).136.01

Abstract

The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of a Global Active Stretching (GAS) programme and an analytical stretching (AS) programme in people over the age of 55. A random study with two parallel groups was planned (GAS, n = 10 vs. AS, n = 12) with participants over the age of 55 who met the following exclusion criteria: back disease and/or chronic back pain, and systematically engaging in any activity that improves flexibility. All participants were evaluated before (T1) and after (T2) the 10-week intervention period. The following tests were performed: height measurement, fingertip-to-floor test, posture in relation to the vertical axis (lumbar, cervical and occipital wall distance) and respiratory measurements. The results revealed that the GAS group showed a height increase (T1 = 173.6 ± 6 cm vs. T2 = 173.9 ± 6.1 cm; p = .034), decreases in fingertip-to-floor distance (T1 = 19.5 ± 11.9 cm vs. T2 = 10.2 ± 13.4 cm; p = .008), lumbar distance (T1 =  4±0.4 cm vs. T2 = 3.5 ± 0.8 cm; p = 0.029) and cervical distance (T1 = 6.6 ± 2.5 cm vs. T2 = 5.6 ± 2.1 cm; p = .023). The AS group showed only a decrease in fingertip-to-floor distance (T1 = 15.6 ± 13.5 vs. T2 = 7.4 ± 13.1 cm; p = .001) and lumbar distance (T1 = 3 ± 1.4 cm vs T2 = 2.7 ± 1.4 cm; p = .027). No changes were found in respiratory function after the study in either group. With regard to the inter-group analysis, there was only a difference in height in favour of the GAS group (0.32 ± 0.1 cm; p=.047) compared to the AS group, while the AS group seemed to show a greater improvement in its FVC1 (–0.43 ± 0.19 L; p = .039) compared to the GAS group. The conclusions show that GAS could be more effective than AS to improve flexibility, height and posture in people over the age of 55.

Key words

muscle stretching exercises; flexibility, range of motion; posture
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