Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Sebastião, Emerson

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KNPE)


Healthy aging is defined as the process of maintaining and developing functional ability that allows a state of mental and physical wellbeing. Physical activity, particularly exercise training, has been highly recommended for individuals of all ages, especially older adults, as way to maintain, improve or restore functional ability and health. Different modalities and types of exercise have been successfully tested in older adults but not much is known about the potential of the sled-push exercise in this population, a modality that has been highly used among athletes to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength and endurance, and core stability. PURPOSE: The present study examined physiological and psychological changes during an acute progressive session of sled-push exercise among older adults and compared that to a walking session. METHODS: 40 apparently healthy older adults of both genders were enrolled in the study but the final analytical sample comprised 36 individuals due to data loss of 4 participants. Participants were randomly assigned to either the sled-push or walking group. Both groups exercised at similar relative velocities, pushing the sled equipment or walking a 30-meter course 6 times with 2-minute resting between each exercise bout. Participants pace during each velocity was monitored and controlled using an online metronome connected via Bluetooth to a phone. Exercise session lasted about 75 minutes. Physiological measures included: heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP), blood lactate (LAC), rate of perceived exertion (RPE), and body discomfort immediately after, 24- and 48-hours post-exercise. Psychological measures included: enjoyment, which was measured during and post-exercise session, and feeling. Data analysis was conducted using SPSS version 26, and significance was set at p < .05. Mixed-factor ANOVA was used to test differences between exercise groups and velocities with partial-eta squared and Cohen’s d used as effect sizes. RESULTS: Significant differences (p <. 05) between the sled-push and walking group and within different velocities were observed for HR, systolic BP, LAC and RPE with moderate-to-large effect sized being observed (ηp2 = .34 – .64). Body discomfort was observed in only 1/3 (n = 6) of the participants in the sled-push group with the intensity of the discomfort being relatively low (1-3 out of 10-point scale). No significant difference (p > .05) was observed between groups or velocities for enjoyment (during or post-exercise session) or feeling. CONCLUSION: The findings of the present study demonstrate that an acute session of progressive sled-push exercise may be able to elucidate positive physiological adaptations to cardiorespiratory and neuromuscular system that are superior to the walking, while producing minimal (although expected) discomfort. In addition, participants’ feelings during the exercise session of the acute progressive sled-push session remained in the positive category, and the session further revealed to be as enjoyable as the walking session, with values that can be considered important for exercise adherence.


106 pages




Northern Illinois University

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