Feasibility of power-type strength training for middle aged men and women: self perception, musculoskeletal symptoms, and injury rates
- Correspondence to: J Surakka, Social Insurance Institution, Research and Development Centre, Peltolantie 3, FIN-20720 Turku, Finland;
- Accepted 8 July 2002
Objectives: To examine the feasibility of a power-type strength training programme for middle aged men and women, the impact of the training programme on perceived health and fitness and on knee and low back symptoms, and the rate of exercise induced injuries.
Methods: A total of 154 voluntary, healthy, sedentary men and women participated in a training programme lasting about four months. The explosive force of leg extensor muscles was measured by means of standing long jumps and vertical squat jumps. Perceived health, perceived fitness, and low back and knee symptoms were assessed before and after the intervention by using a questionnaire. Musculoskeletal disorders and exercise induced injuries were reported during the training programme.
Results: Perceived fitness improved in both men (p<0.01) and women (p<0.0001), but perceived health only in women (p<0.01). Men with increased explosive force in squat jumping also showed better perceived health (p<0.05), and women with increased explosive force in standing long jump showed better perceived fitness (p<0.05). Exercising men who had increased knee symptoms had significantly higher body mass index than the other exercising men (p<0.05). The exercise induced injury rate was 19% in men and 6% in women.
Conclusions: Successful completion of the exercise programme, together with the increased physical activity and relatively low injury rate, may have contributed to the participants finding the exercise programme positive and stimulating and believing that their health and fitness had improved. The low rate of musculoskeletal injury suggests that this type of supervised exercise programme is feasible for untrained middle aged people.