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12 weeks of Brazilian jiu-jitsu training improves functional fitness in elderly men

Abstract

Worldwide, there are up to 900 million people over 60 years old, of which more than half are physically inactive. Low physical fitness seems to be the major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and mortality in this population. Alternative methods of exercise, such as martial arts, may be an option to improve physical fitness in the elderly. This study aimed to verify the effects of Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) training on the functional fitness of elderly men. Sixty-two elderly men were divided in two groups (experimental and control). The experimental group was submitted to a 12-week intervention of BJJ (2 times week−1; 90-min session−1). Physical fitness tests and anthropometric measurements were performed before and after intervention in both groups. No statistical differences were found between groups before and after the intervention. The experimental group improved in all performed physical fitness tests. Effect size showed that intervention had a small effect on upper body flexibility; a moderate effect for upper body strength, lower body flexibility, and motor agility/dynamic balance; and a large effect on lower body strength and aerobic endurance. BJJ seems to improve functional fitness in elderly men and may be an alternative method to enhance this population’s health and quality of life.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are thankful to Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) and Conselho Nacional de DesenvolvimentoCientífico e Tecnológico (CNPq) for granting the scholarships in undergraduate research level (CNPq), MSc (CAPES) and PhD (CAPES).

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Correspondence to Caio Victor Sousa.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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de Queiroz, J.L., Sales, M.M., Sousa, C.V. et al. 12 weeks of Brazilian jiu-jitsu training improves functional fitness in elderly men. Sport Sci Health 12, 291–295 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11332-016-0287-8

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Keywords

  • Physical fitness
  • Older men
  • Martial arts
  • Fighting sports