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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2002 Dec;50(12):1929-33.

Exercise adherence and 10-year mortality in chronically ill older adults.

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Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA.



To compare mortality of adherents and nonadherents of an exercise program.


Prospective intervention study.


Supervised geriatric fitness program called Gerofit.


One hundred thirty-five adults aged 65 and older who enrolled in Gerofit between January 1, 1990, and November 30, 1999. All participants had a baseline medical screen and exercise test. They were classified as adherent (n = 70) if they participated in Gerofit for more than 47 sessions or nonadherent (n = 65) if they did not complete 47 sessions within the first 6-month period.


Program participation was voluntary and consisted of aerobic, strength, flexibility, and balance exercises. The program met three times week for 90 minutes.


All-cause mortality.


Twenty-six deaths occurred within the 10-year follow-up period. Using proportional hazards, time to death was not related to adherence group. However, in multivariate analyses controlling for age, sex, race, baseline risk/health status, history of heart disease, cancer, diabetes mellitus, and baseline smoking status, there was significant group-by-time interaction (P =.004), indicating a crossover in mortality risk. The initial survival benefit observed in nonadherers changed over time, resulting in a long-term protective survival effect on mortality for the adherent group (hazard rate = 0.75, 95% confidence interval = 0.61-0.91 for the interaction term).


Older adults with chronic diseases experience a long-term beneficial mortality effect from participation in exercise programs. Physicians should strongly encourage their patients, including those with comorbidities, to maintain a regular exercise program.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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