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J Nutr Health Aging. 2006 Jan-Feb;10(1):21-9.

Effectiveness of a community based low intensity exercise program for older adults.

Author information

  • 1MRC/UCT Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town and Chronic Diseases of Lifestyle Unit, South Africa.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a community-based, low-intensity exercise programme in older adults from socio-economically and historically disadvantaged communities.

DESIGN:

Three community centres were selected: two were allocated to the same 20-week, twice-weekly exercise program (EX1, n=38; EX2, n=32); and a third to relaxation classes (control/CTL; n=21). Measurements at baseline, 10 and 20 weeks included field tests for anthropometry, static and dynamic balance, gait, upper and lower body strength, 6-minute walk test, blood pressure, activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), physical activity recall and self perceived health status.

RESULTS:

Exercise training significantly improved dynamic balance in both groups (75.1+/-31.5 vs 55.3+/-13.6 s, and 53.3+/-17.0 vs 37.0+/-10.4 s, for EX1 and EX2, respectively, p < 0.001 compared to CTL (57+/-27 vs 53+/-15 s). Lower body strength, as measured by the number of sit-to-stand repetitions in 10 s was also significantly improved in both EX1 and EX2 (p<0.001). No significant changes occurred in the CTL group. Systolic blood pressure decreased in both EX1 and EX2 from baseline to 20 weeks (147.8+/-12.8 vs 143.9+/-3.3 mmHg and 143.0+/-13.9 vs 137.4+/-14.5 mmHg, respectively, p<0.009, compared to CTL (147+/-13 to 150+/-16 mmHg). Furthermore, in a sub sample of subjects who were hypertensive at the outset, exercise intervention was associated with a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure (n=26; 146+/-14 mmHg to 140+/-14 mmHg; p=0.005). Variables unaffected by exercise training were upper body strength, body composition and fat distribution, 20 m walk, cardiovascular endurance, time spent in recreational activities, self perceived health status and ADL.

CONCLUSION:

A community-based, low intensity exercise programme improved dynamic balance and lower body strength in community dwelling older adults and improved blood pressure, particularly in those who were hypertensive.

PMID:
16453054
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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