Authors: Iris Malka1,2, Iacob Hanțiu1
1 Physical Education and Sports Faculty, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2 Movement, Posture and coordination studio for children and adults, Tel Aviv, Israel
Background. It is well-known that flexibility is related to the range of motion of the muscles and joints. Trunk and hamstring flexibility was found to be related to low back pain and falls, health and well-being.
Aims. This study aimed to investigate the impact of two recreational physical activity (RPA) programs, Harmonic Gymnastics and Fitness exercise, on the flexibility of the trunk and hamstring muscles in adults aged 50+. A secondary aim was to analyze the relationships between flexibility, BMI and gender.
Methods. Flexibility was measured in 32 subjects, mean age 61.40, from Tel Aviv, Israel, by the Back Saver Sit and Reach test. They were divided into two groups (16 subjects in each group).
Results. The paired samples t-test revealed significant differences after the program only in the Harmonic Gymnastics group (p = 0.00; d = 1.34). The correlation analysis indicated that after the program, flexibility scores were negatively related to higher BMI in women (r = -0.508, p = 0.031), and women had higher flexibility scores than men before and after the intervention program.
Conclusions. This research shows that the Harmonic Gymnastics recreational physical activity program had a significant influence on the flexibility of older adults, even in pandemic conditions of Covid-19. Regarding the relationships between flexibility, BMI and gender of the subjects, women revealed higher flexibility scores than men, and higher BMI was related to lower flexibility scores in women.
Key words: flexibility, hamstring muscles, harmonic gymnastics, fitness, older adults