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Effects of age on muscle power, postural control and functional capacity after short-term immobilization and retraining

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  • Cecilia Elam, University of Gothenburg
  • ,
  • Lars G Hvid
  • Ulrik Christensen, Aarhus University
  • ,
  • Michael Kjær, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • S Peter Magnusson, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Per Aagaard, Aarhus University
  • ,
  • Lina Bunketorp Käll, University of Gothenburg
  • ,
  • Charlotte Suetta, University of Copenhagen

OBJECTIVES: This study investigated the effect of lower limb immobilization and retraining on postural control and muscle power in healthy old and young men.

METHODS: Twenty men, nine old (OM:67.3±4.4 years) and eleven young (YM:24.4±1.6 years) underwent 2 weeks of unilateral whole-leg casting, followed by 4 weeks of retraining. Measures included center of pressure (CoP) sway length and area during single- and double-leg stance, maximal leg extensor muscle power, habitual and maximal 10-m gait speed, sit-to-stand performance, and 2-min step test.

RESULTS: After immobilization, leg extension muscle power decreased by 15% in OM (from 2.68±0.60 to 2.29±0.63 W/kg, p<0.05) and 17% in YM (4.37±0.76 to 3.63±0.69 W/kg, p<0.05). Double-leg CoP sway area increased by 45% in OM (218±82 to 317±145 mm2; p<0.05), with no change in YM (p=0.43). Physical function did not change after immobilization but sit-to-stand performance (+20%, p<0.05) and 2-min step test (+28%, p<0.05) increased in OM following retraining. In both groups, all parameters returned to baseline levels after retraining.

CONCLUSION: Two weeks of lower limb immobilization led to decreases in maximal muscle power in both young and old, whereas postural control was impaired selectively in old men. All parameters were restored in both groups after 4 weeks of resistance-based retraining.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions
Pages (from-to)486-497
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

    Research areas

  • Humans, Leg, Lower Extremity, Male, Muscle, Skeletal, Postural Balance, Walking Speed

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