The effects of an active-assisted stretching program on functional performance in elderly persons: A pilot study

Damian C. Stanziano, Bernard A. Roos, Arlette C. Perry, Shenghan Lai, Joseph F. Signorile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This study examined the impact of an eight-week active-assisted (AA) stretching program on functionality, mobility, power, and range of motion (ROM) in elderly residents of a residential retirement community. Seventeen volunteers (4 male, 13 female; 88.8 ± 5.36 years) were randomly assigned to an AA or control group. The AA group performed 10 different AA stretches targeting the major joints of the body twice weekly for eight weeks. Controls attended classes requiring limited physical activity. All participants were assessed using four flexibility and six functional tests, one week before and after the eight-week training period. A fully randomized repeated-measures ANCOVA with pretest scores as a covariate was used to detect differences between groups across time. The AA group demonstrated significant increases in ROM for most of the joints evaluated (p < 0.05) and significant increases in all performance measures (p < 0.05). Controls showed no improvements in functional or ROM measures (α = 0.05). Additionally, the AA group showed signifi cantly better performance outcomes across the training period than controls. We conclude that our eight-week flexibility program effectively reduces age-related losses in ROM and improves functional performance in elderly persons with insufficient physical reserves to perform higher-intensity exercises.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-120
Number of pages6
JournalClinical interventions in aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 8 2009


  • Activities of daily living
  • Exercise
  • Functionality
  • Instrumental activities of daily living
  • Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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