Respiratory muscle function in physically active elderly women

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This study was performed in 52 women, aged 60 to 76 years: 27 were engaged in a gymnastics program, 3 h a week, for at least 2 years; 25 were age-matched controls. All were lifelong nonsmokers, free of disease symptoms and lived independently at home; none had previously engaged in exercise programs. Spirometry included volumes, flows and maximal voluntary ventilation (MVV); maximal mouth pressures both inspiratory (MIP) and expiratory (MEP) were also measured. The two groups differed only in the mean value of MEP (cm of water) which was 107.7 ± 37.3 S.D. in the active group and 87.4 ± 22.8 S.D. in the controls (P = 0.028). MIP and MW were also higher in the active group but the differences were not significant. However, a significant correlation between MW and both MIP and MEP was only found in the active group, suggesting a relation between muscular endurance and strength. This exercise program, although not oriented towards the respiratory system, improved the performance of the respiratory muscles probably by an effect on the abdominal musculature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996


  • Elderly
  • Exercise
  • Forced expiratory flows
  • Lung volumes
  • Maximal mouth respiratory pressures
  • Maximal voluntary ventilation


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