Physical exercises, functional capacity and depressive symptoms in Brazilian elderly

Carla Manuela Crispim Nascimento, Carlos Ayan, Jose Maria Cancela, Jessica Rodrigues Pereira, Larissa Pires Andrade, Marcelo Garuffi, Sebastião Gobbi, Florindo Stella


The objective of our study was to investigate the effects of 16 weeks of multimodal exercise on functional capacity components, general functional fitness and depressive symptoms in the elderly. Fifty-five elderly (67.3 ± 5.8 years) participated inthe study. The groups were distributed according to the participation on the proposed protocol: a) trained group (TG) composed of 27 participants who attended at least 75% of the total generalized physical exercise sessions for16 weeks; and b) control group (CG), participants who did not attend any regular physical activity program. Functional capacity was assessed using theAAHPERD battery of motor tests for elderly, which consists of five tests: coordination, flexibility, muscular resistance, agility/dynamic balance, and overall aerobic endurance. Depressive symptoms were measured using the short version of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15). The results showed that elderly on TG had better performance on motor tests. Depressive symptoms did not change for both groups. Thus, our results indicate that 16 weeks is sufficient to improve general functional fitness in elderly, while those who remain sedentary tend to decrease their overall physical fitness. The proposed program could not induce significant changes in the elderly with low levels ofdepressive symptoms reported for this variable. The evidence of this study allows the prediction that a generalized program can help prevent chronic diseases, reduce functional decline and produce positive effects on quality oflife.


Aging; Depressive symptoms; Functional fitness; Physical exercise.

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The abbreviated title of the journal is Rev. Bras. Cineantropom. Desempenho Hum, which should be used in bibliographies, footnotes and bibliographical references. E-ISSN 1980-0037, impressa ISSN 1415-8426, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.