European Geriatric Medicine

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 201–209 | Cite as

Relationships between objectively assessed functional mobility and handgrip strength in healthy older adults

  • Micaela Porta
  • Giuseppina Pilloni
  • Federica Corona
  • Maria Chiara Fastame
  • Paul Kenneth Hitchott
  • Maria Pietronilla Penna
  • Massimiliano Pau
Research Paper



This study aimed to characterize age-related changes in Timed Up and Go (TUG) sub-phases (i.e., sit to stand, walking and turning) quantitatively assessed using an inertial sensor in healthy older adults and to verify the degree of correlation between TUG parameters and muscular strength (assessed by handgrip strength, HGS) in the different age ranges.


This is a cross-sectional study performed on 125 healthy older adults aged over 65 years stratified in four groups (< 70 years, 71–75, 76–80, > 80) who underwent an instrumental TUG carried out using a wearable inertial sensor. In addition, participants were asked to carry out the HGS test to establish possible relationships between muscular strength and TUG features.


The results show a general decline in all phases of TUG performance (albeit with some gender-related differences) which becomes significant after 75 years of age. Also, HGS was found to be systematically higher in men at any age group. Significant negative correlations between HGS and TUG phases times were found for both genders (men r = − 0.28 to − 0.50, women r = − 0.34 to − 0.60). However, when age groups were analyzed separately, such correlations are confirmed only in case of women aged < 70 years, while they vanish for most parameters in all other age groups.


The findings obtained in the present study suggest that muscular strength might have a different relationship with functional mobility according to age and gender, and this should be considered when physical activity program or rehabilitation plans are planned.


Timed Up and Go (TUG) Functional mobility Balance Handgrip strength (HGS) Older adults 



The authors wish to thank the “University of Third Age” (Quartu S. Elena, Italy) and particularly Mr. Gianfranco Dongu for their valuable support during data acquisition.


This study was funded by the Autonomous Region of Sardinia (grant CRP-78543 L.R. 7/2007).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors confirm that there are no known conflicts of interest associated with this publication and there has been no significant financial support for this work that could have influenced its outcome.

Ethical approval

The study was conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments and all participants signed an informed consent agreeing to participate.

Informed consent

Participants were included in the study once a signed informed consent was obtained.


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Copyright information

© European Geriatric Medicine Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical, Chemical and Materials EngineeringUniversity of CagliariCagliariItaly
  2. 2.Department of Pedagogy, Psychology, PhilosophyUniversity of CagliariCagliariItaly

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