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The effects of a session of resistance training on sleep patterns in the elderly

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of a session of resistance training on the sleep patterns of elderly people. Forty men aged 65–80 years who were sedentary and clinically healthy were divided into two groups: the control group (n = 18) and the resistance group (n = 22). Both groups underwent two polysomnography tests, one at baseline and another after either a resistance training session (the resistance group) or no physical exercise (the control group). The resistance training session was based on 60% of one repetition maximum (a test that assesses the maximum force). We observed that the frequency with which the control group awoke (arousal index) increased from 16.29 ± 6.06 events/h to 20.09 ± 6.9 events/h, and in the resistance group, it decreased from 22.27 ± 11 events/h to 20.41 ± 8.57 events/h (t = 2.10 and p = 0.04). For stage-1 sleep, there was an increase from 4.96% at baseline to 5.40% in the control group, and there was a decrease in the resistance group from 8.32 to 6.21% after the exercise session (t = 2.12 and p = 0.04). A session of resistance training at 60% of one repetition maximum was able to modify the sleep pattern in men aged 65–80 years, suggesting that physical exercise has a modest influence on sleep consolidation.

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The authors would like to thank Ligia Mendonça Lucchesi, PhD, and Leandro Stetner Antonietti. The study was awarded a grant from the FAPESP (CEPID 98/143033), the Research Support Foundation (AFIP), the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, the Brazilian Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Postgraduate Education (CAPES), the Center for Multidisciplinary Studies in Sleepiness and Accidents and the Center for Psychobiology and Exercise Studies.

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Correspondence to Andrea Maculano Esteves or Marco Túlio de Mello.

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Communicated by Susan A. Ward.

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Viana, V.A.R., Esteves, A.M., Boscolo, R.A. et al. The effects of a session of resistance training on sleep patterns in the elderly. Eur J Appl Physiol 112, 2403–2408 (2012).

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