Since the practice of physical exercises contributes significantly to the maintenance and improvement of physical fitness, the objective of this study was to investigate the effects of 8 weeks of
strength training on the middle-aged women physical capacities and on the gait parameters.
5 physically active middle-aged women (+/-49 years) performed a systematic physical activity program composed by 8 weeks of strength training (3x week, 50 min/session). Before starting the strength
training, 20 weeks of the basics physical capacities was performed. The physical fitness was evaluated in 2 times: T1-pre-training and T2-post-training (Upper and lower limbs and abdominal strength;
Agility and Lower limbs flexibility). 18 optoelectronic cameras (240Hz) were positioned around the subjects (acquisition volume: 8x3x3m3) in order to obtain the 3D kinematic data of the lower limbs
(27 retro-reflective markers). From the 3D data, we calculated the angular and linear gait parameters of 5 gait cycles (ankle, knee and hip flexion/extension range of motion (RoM); step and stride
length, velocity, stride width, stance time, cycle time, double limp support time). Since we have a small sample size, we used a non-parametric test (Wilcoxon p<0.05) in order to analyze the
effectiveness of the training on the physical capacities, on gait parameters, and on the symmetry between limbs.
The lower limb strength and the agility/dynamic balance increased in T2 (Siting-Rising Test: pre:15.6, post:18.4rep; Agility/dynamic balance: pre:5.5, post:4.6s). No significant difference was found
in the others tests. The left ankle (pre:25.5º, post:33.9º) and right hip (pre:41.3º, post:49.7º) RoM increased in T2. No significant differences were found in the linear gait parameters and in the
comparison between limbs. The preliminary results showed a maintenance or an improvement in their physical fitness arise against the expected decline of it with the aging. These results, also could
indicate a decreasing in their risks of fall. A symmetrical gait was found and the linear parameters values can be classified as a normal gait. The RoM values found in this work corroborate with the
values reported in the literature. Despite the fact that the RoM of the right and left joints were not significantly different in both, T1 e T2, we can highlight that the gain of RoM in the left ankle
and right hip allows an approximation of the values between limbs (T2).
Therefore, we conclude that 8 weeks of strength training for middle-aged women was effective to maintain or to improve their physical fitness and linear and angular gait parameters.