Lower limb muscle strength and physical activity in healthy individuals approaching retirement

Elizabeth Bryant, M.E. Trew, Alison Bruce, Liz Cheek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to examine knee extensor/flexor muscle strength and physical activity in healthy males and females approaching retirement. Peak torques of the knee extensor and knee flexor muscle groups were measured bilaterally in 95 individuals (mean age 59.4 years) using an isokinetic dynamometer. Isokinetic concentric contractions were performed at angular velocities of 1.05 and 3.14 rad · s-1. Physical activity, including household, leisure, and sporting activities, was assessed. The results show that the average peak torques exhibited were lower than previously reported in studies using the same methodology with different populations of similar age and body size. Over one-third of the participants were sedentary, with just 13% being active enough to obtain health benefits. The poor muscle strength and low physical activity of this self selecting group of healthy working adults were surprising, and potentially a cause for concern. The combination of retirement being a potential watershed for a decrease in physical activity and the known age-related decline in physical performance indicates that some of these participants are at risk of losing their functional independence fairly early in the retirement stage. We recommend the introduction of effective health promotion interventions for individuals approaching retirement, encouraging them to become more physically active.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-842
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - May 2007


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