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Patient Educ Couns. 2006 Oct;63(1-2):205-14. Epub 2006 Jan 19.

Once a week not enough, twice a week not feasible? A randomised controlled exercise trial in long-term care facilities [ISRCTN87177281].

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  • 1Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine, Department of Public and Occupational Health, VU University Medical Center, Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



To evaluate the effectiveness of three different training protocols on physical function of older adults living in long-term care facilities. Emphasis was placed on feasibility in real-life situations.


Subjects (N=224) were randomised to 6 months of twice weekly (1) resistance training; (2) all-round functional-skills training; (3) a combination of both; or (4) a control program. Fitness and performance measures and self-reported disability were measured at baseline and after 24 weeks intervention.


Attendance to the strength training was 76%, to the functional-skills training 70% and to the combined training 73%. In those who attended at least 75% of all classes (n=97) the functional-skills and combined training program improved several fitness and performance measures compared to the control group.


Twice weekly functional-skills training, or a combination of resistance and functional-skills training can improve several fitness and performance measures of institutionalised older people.


An important finding from our study was that less than twice a week exercise training is not enough for functional improvement, while it proved difficult for the elderly subjects to exercise twice weekly. Education on the health benefits of regular exercise, and a larger availability of classes in long-term care facilities may improve attendance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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