OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to establish age-related changes in musculoskeletal function, balance and mobility measures in men.
DESIGN: An observational, cross-sectional cohort study was undertaken.
METHODS: One hundred six healthy, community-ambulant men (30-80 years) participated in this study. Recruitment of a convenience sample continued until a minimum of 20 men represented each decade between 30 and 80 years. Demographics (age, height, weight), health and current activity level were recorded. Balance and mobility were measured using the timed up and go test, the step test, functional and lateral reach. Reaction time was determined from limits of stability test. Leg muscle strength was measured with a spring gauge (kg), and ankle flexibility was measured using goniometry.
RESULTS: Balance, mobility and most strength measures were reduced by the 60s while ankle flexibility declined by the 70s (p < 0.01). Reaction times increased by the 60s (p < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: This study of men demonstrated reduced musculoskeletal function, balance and mobility generally by the 60s. These results provide health professionals with normal performance levels to use as therapeutic goals as well as identify musculoskeletal factors associated with reducing balance and mobility. Hence, these results inform clinicians and policy makers for the establishment of pre-emptive interventions to promote healthier ageing.