Effects of a treadmill walking program on muscle strength and balance in elderly people with down syndrome

Eli Carmeli, Shlomo Kessel, Raymond Coleman, Moshe Ayalon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Longer life expectancy is resulting in increasing numbers of elderly adults with mental retardation. In elderly adults with Down syndrome (DS), the maintenance of muscle strength, endurance, and dynamic balance are important to ensure quality of life and functional independence. The objective of this study was to compare isokinetic leg strength and dynamic balance of aged mentally retarded individuals with DS (n = 16, mean age 63) before and after a treadmill walking program lasting 6 months in comparison with a nonwalking control group (n = 10) with similar physical characteristics. Methods. Participants in the study undertook leg strength testing on a dynamometer. Parameters measured included peak torque, peak torque % body weight, and average power % body weight. A "timed get-up and go" functional test for dynamic balance was also analyzed and compared prior to and after the treadmill program. Results. Knee extension and flexion isokinetic strength in elderly individuals with DS showed significant improvement after 6 months of treadmill training. Dynamic balance performance was also significantly improved (p < .05). Conclusions. Aged adults with DS can significantly improve muscle strength and balance by adopting suitable programs of treadmill walking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)M106-M110
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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