Effects of a low-volume, vigorous intensity step exercise program on functional mobility in middle-aged adults

Emer P. Doheny, Denise McGrath, Massimiliano Ditroilo, Jacqueline L. Mair, Barry R. Greene, Brian Caulfield, Giuseppe De Vito, Madeleine M. Lowery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Aging-related decline in functional mobility is associated with loss of independence. This decline may be mitigated through programs of physical activity. Despite reports of aging-related mobility impairment in middle-aged adults, this age group has been largely overlooked in terms of exercise programs that target functional mobility and the preservation of independence in older age. A method to quantitatively assess changes in functional mobility could direct rehabilitation in a proactive rather than reactive manner. Thirty-three healthy but sedentary middle-aged adults participated in a four week low-volume, vigorous intensity stepping exercise program. Two baseline testing sessions and one post-training testing session were conducted. Functional mobility was assessed using the timed up and go (TUG) test, with its constituent sit-to-walk and walk-to-sit phases examined using a novel inertial sensor-based method. Additionally, semi-tandem balance and knee extensor muscle isometric torque were assessed. Trunk acceleration during walk-to-sit reduced significantly post-training, suggesting altered movement control due to the exercise program. No significant training-induced changes in sit-to-walk acceleration, TUG time, balance or torque were observed. The novel method of functional mobility assessment presented provides a reliable means to quantify subtle changes in mobility during postural transitions. Over time, this exercise program may improve functional mobility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1748-1757
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Biomedical Imaging
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation, Physiological/physiology
  • Aged
  • Exercise/physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Exertion/physiology
  • Physical Fitness/physiology
  • Postural Balance/physiology
  • Posture/physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance/physiology
  • Walking/physiology


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