The equipment is popular amongst older adults and people with neurological or cardio-respiratory conditions who experience difficulties with the initiation of movement or the ability to sustain repeated movements. Shapemaster have identified the potential for market growth in the leisure and rehabilitation sectors, however, limited understanding of the physical efficacy of power assisted exercise is a barrier to commercial uptake.
Innerva, in collaboration with experts at the AWRC, identified the ‘Magic Five’ as outcomes important to their user market. The Magic Five comprise aerobic fitness, muscular strength, flexibility, balance and psychosocial wellbeing. Prior to this study, the aerobic, muscular and kinetic demand stimulated through use of PAE machines had not been quantified. We recruited nine older adults who attended three power assisted exercise sessions on 11 machines during which we measured joint motion, aerobic response, metabolic response and muscle activation.
The findings indicated that power assisted exercise enables users to engage in moderate intensity interval training which will lead to improved aerobic and muscular capacity. Balance assessment indicated reduced backwards/forwards sway which will reduce falls risk, and the joints of the limbs and trunk were assisted to move through 75%-90% of normal available range.