Combined exercise training in older adults: application of a hydraulic resistance machine for multicomponent fitness improvement

  • Christopher Hurst

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Ageing is associated with declines in cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness; yet for olderadults the ability to perform the basic tasks of daily living is partly dependent on upperandlower-body fitness. Exercise training is an effective approach to counteract these ageassociated declines, with combined exercise training and high-intensity interval training(HIT) capable of eliciting improvements in cardiorespiratory and muscular fitnesssimultaneously. Recently, a new hydraulic resistance exercise machine (Speedflex) hasbeen developed with potential to be a viable training mode for older adults allowing usersto perform high speed movements with upper- and lower-body muscles. Accordingly, theaim of this thesis was to evaluate the potential effectiveness of Speedflex as a trainingstrategy in older adults.Initially, this work sought to determine the feasibility of performing exercise trainingusing Speedflex in older adults by quantifying the acute training responses to 1) HIT and2) strength training and comparing these against criterion exercise modes. Here, theobserved physiological and perceptual responses demonstrated that Speedflex is afeasible mode of exercise training in older adults, capable of inducing a high-intensitytraining stimulus. Following this, a systematic review and meta-analysis was performedto quantify the effects of same-session combined exercise training in older adults withresults demonstrating possibly small to possibly large beneficial effects on measures offitness. As muscle power appears to be a critical determinant of physical functioning inolder adults, chapter five evaluated the reliability of the Nottingham leg extensor powerrig, finding it to be reliable both short- and long-term, thereby confirming its suitabilityas a primary outcome measure for the final study and providing data for sample sizeestimation. Finally, chapter six evaluated the effects of a 12-week combined upper- andlower-body HIT intervention using Speedflex on physical fitness in older adults. Clearbeneficial improvements were observed for participants in the intervention groupcompared to those in the control group for maximal oxygen uptake (~8%), muscle power(~10%) and muscle strength (~6%). The findings presented in this thesis demonstrate thatboth same-session combined training and HIT performed using Speedflex are capable ofsimultaneously improving cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness in older adults.
Date of Award15 Dec 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Teesside University
SupervisorMatthew Weston (Supervisor)

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