Weight training improves walking endurance in healthy elderly persons

P. A. Ades, D. L. Ballor, T. Ashikaga, J. L. Utton, K. S. Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

193 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the effect of a resistance-training program on walking endurance in a healthy, community-dwelling elderly population. Design: 12-week randomized, controlled trial comparing a resistance-training group with a nonexercising control group. Setting: Hospital-affiliated outpatient exercise facility. Patients: 24 healthy men and women who were 65 years of age or older (mean age ± SD, 70.4 ± 4 years; range, 65 to 79 years). Measurements: The primary outcome variable was exhaustive submaximal walking time measured at an intensity of 80% of baseline peak aerobic capacity. Results: Participants in the resistance-training program increased submaximal walking endurance by 9 minutes (from 25 ± 4 minutes to 34 ± 9 minutes; P = 0.001), a 38% increase, whereas no change was seen in controls (20 ± 5 minutes to 19 ± 10 minutes; P > 0.2; P = 0.005 between groups). The relation between change in leg strength and change in walking endurance was significant (r = 0.48; P = 0.02). Neither group showed a change in peak aerobic capacity or in whole-body composition, although fat-free mass of the leg increased in the exercise group. Conclusions: Resistance training for 3 months improves both leg strength and walking endurance in healthy, community-dwelling elderly persons. This finding is relevant to older persons at risk for disability, because walking endurance and leg strength are important components of physical functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-572
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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