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