Effect of Leg Muscle Contraction Velocity on Functional Performance in Older Men and Women

Authors

  • Stephen P. Sayers PhD,

    1. From the *Human Physiology Laboratory, Department of Health Sciences, Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Boston University, Boston, MassachusettsLaboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MarylandSocial Science Statistics Center, Department of Statistics, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri.
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  • Jack M. Guralnik MD, PhD,

    1. From the *Human Physiology Laboratory, Department of Health Sciences, Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Boston University, Boston, MassachusettsLaboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MarylandSocial Science Statistics Center, Department of Statistics, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri.
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  • Lori A. Thombs PhD,

    1. From the *Human Physiology Laboratory, Department of Health Sciences, Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Boston University, Boston, MassachusettsLaboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MarylandSocial Science Statistics Center, Department of Statistics, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri.
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  • Roger A. Fielding PhD

    1. From the *Human Physiology Laboratory, Department of Health Sciences, Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Boston University, Boston, MassachusettsLaboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MarylandSocial Science Statistics Center, Department of Statistics, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri.
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  • This study was supported by National Institute on Aging Contract 263-MA-202876, R01-AG18844, Roybal Center for the Enhancement of Late-Life Function Grant P50-A11669, and a National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Health Services Research (H133P99004) to Dr. Sayers.

Stephen P. Sayers, University of Missouri-Columbia, School of Health Professions, Department of Physical Therapy, 114 Lewis Hall, Columbia, MO 65211. E-mail: sayerss@missouri.edu

Abstract

Objectives: To explore the relationship between impairment (skeletal muscle strength and contraction velocity) and function in community-dwelling older adults.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Setting: University-based human physiology laboratory.

Participants: One hundred one men and women (aged 75–90).

Measurements: Muscle strength and contraction velocity during bilateral leg press (LP) were calculated during one-repetition maximum (1RM) and 40% 1RM. A short physical performance battery (SPPB) and gait speed (GS) from a 400-m self-paced walk assessed function. Sex differences in LP strength and contraction velocity (at 40% 1RM) were assessed. The relationship between these variables and function was also examined.

Results: Lower extremity strength and contraction velocity were significantly associated with GS (P=.02 and P=.005, respectively) and SPPB (P<.001 and P=.009, respectively) in men only. Contraction velocity, but not muscle strength, was significantly associated with GS (P<.001) and SPPB (P=.02) in women.

Conclusion: Sex differences exist in the relationship between impairment (muscle strength and contraction velocity) and function. Older men and women may employ different strategies to achieve success on different functional tasks. These findings may have important implications for clinicians practicing geriatric rehabilitation.

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