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The aim of this review was to recommend training strategies, which improve the functional capacity in physically frail older adults based on scientific literature, focusing specially in supervised exercise programs that improved muscle strength, fall risk, balance and gait ability. Scielo, Science Citation Index, MEDLINE, Scopus, Sport Discus and ScienceDirect databases were searched from 1990 to 2012. Studies must have mentioned the effects of exercise training on at least one of the following four parameters: incidence of falls, gait, balance and lower-body strength. Twenty studies which investigated the effects of multi-component exercise training (10), resistance training (6), endurance training (1) and balance training (3) were included in the present revision. Ten trials investigated the effects of exercise on the incidence of falls in elderly with physical frailty. Seven of them have found a fewer falls incidence after physical training when compared with the control group. Eleven trials investigated the effects of exercise intervention on the gait ability. Six of them showed enhancements in the gait ability. Ten trials investigated the effects of exercise intervention on the balance performance and seven of them demonstrated enhanced balance. Thirteen trials investigated the effects of exercise intervention on the muscle strength and nine of them showed increases in the muscle strength. The multi-component exercise intervention composed by strength, endurance and balance training seems to be the best strategy to improve rate of falls, gait ability, balance and strength performance in physically frail older adults.
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Effects of Different Exercise Interventions on Risk of Falls,
Gait Ability, and Balance in Physically Frail Older Adults:
A Systematic Review
Eduardo Lusa Cadore,
Leocadio Rodrı´guez-Man˜as,
Alan Sinclair,
and Mikel Izquierdo
The aim of this review was to recommend training strategies that improve the functional capacity in physically
frail older adults based on scientific literature, focusing specially in supervised exercise programs that improved
muscle strength, fall risk, balance, and gait ability. Scielo, Science Citation Index, MEDLINE, Scopus, Sport
Discus, and ScienceDirect databases were searched from 1990 to 2012. Studies must have mentioned the effects
of exercise training on at least one of the following four parameters: Incidence of falls, gait, balance, and lower-
body strength. Twenty studies that investigated the effects of multi-component exercise training (10), resistance
training (6), endurance training (1), and balance training (3) were included in the present revision. Ten trials
investigated the effects of exercise on the incidence of falls in elderly with physical frailty. Seven of them have
found a fewer falls incidence after physical training when compared with the control group. Eleven trials
investigated the effects of exercise intervention on the gait ability. Six of them showed enhancements in the gait
ability. Ten trials investigated the effects of exercise intervention on the balance performance and seven of them
demonstrated enhanced balance. Thirteen trials investigated the effects of exercise intervention on the muscle
strength and nine of them showed increases in the muscle strength. The multi-component exercise intervention
composed by strength, endurance and balance training seems to be the best strategy to improve rate of falls, gait
ability, balance, and strength performance in physically frail older adults.
Frailty is an age-associated biological syndrome
characterized by decreases in the biological functional
reserve and resistance to stressors due to changes in several
physiological systems, which puts individuals at special risk
for poor outcomes (disability, fall death, and hospitalization)
from minor stressors.
Frailty encompasses changes that
are associated with aging, life styles, chronic diseases, and
the interactions among them.
The prevalence of frailty in
people older than 65 years is high (ranging from 7% to
16.3%), increases with age,
and is the main risk factor for
The diagnosis of frailty comprises several do-
mains, including physical impairments (e.g., low gait speed,
fatigue, and low grip strength), weight loss, and low physical
One of the main pathophysiological issues under-
lying the frailty syndrome is the loss of muscle mass that is
induced by biological aging (i.e., sarcopenia). Sarcopenia is
exacerbated by decreased physical activity, causing a decline
in overall function that leads to frailty.
In addition, other
diseases, such as malnutrition, immobility, anemia, obesity,
cancer, and cardiovascular disease, can accelerate the mor-
bidity and mortality that are induced by the frailty
Poor health, disability, and dependency do not have to be
inevitable consequences of aging. Indeed, older adults who
practice healthy lifestyles, avoid sedentariness, participate in
physical exercise (e.g., walking, strength training, or self-
adjusted physical activity), use clinical preventive services,
and continue to engage with family and friends are more
likely to remain healthy, live independently, and incur fewer
health-related costs.
The benefits of physical exercise in improving the func-
tional capacity of frail, older adults have been the focus of
considerable recent research.
Exercise programs tailored
to this population have been demonstrated to be effec-
tive. These interventions, such as resistance training, bal-
ance training, endurance training, coordination training,
Department of Health Sciences, Public University of Navarre, Tudela, Navarre, Spain.
Division of Geriatric Medicine, University Hospital of Getafe, Madrid, Spain.
Institute of Diabetes for Older People (IDOP), University of Bedfordshire, United Kingdom.
Volume 16, Number 2, 2013
ªMary Ann Liebert, Inc.
DOI: 10.1089/rej.2012.1397
multi-component exercises (i.e., simultaneous strength, en-
durance, and balance training), and Tai Chi, have yielded
beneficial effects on certain functional parameters in frail,
elderly subjects. However, multi-component exercise pro-
grams that include resistance training appear to result in
greater overall enhancements because this type of interven-
tion stimulates several components of physical health, such
as strength, cardiorespiratory fitness, and balance.
Some studies observed an impaired physical function of
subjects who were not necessarily defined as frail subjects,
but presented severe functional declines such as lower limb
weakness, poor balance, and physical impairments in-
duced by recent history of injurious falls.
Thus, there
is a need to define exercise prescription strategies to improve
the functional capacity in elderly who are overall physically
In addition to reducing the loss of muscle strength and
mass, exercise interventions should focus on reducing the
number of falls and improving balance and gait ability. To
optimize the physical training prescription and meet these
goals in subjects with physical frailty, the most effective type
of exercise program should be identified by considering the
optimal combination of intensity, volume, and frequency of
weekly training that would promote neuromuscular and
cardiovascular adaptations and thus result in improved
functional capacity in the frail elderly. Furthermore, because
muscle power is an important predictor of functional ca-
pacity, strategies to develop skeletal muscle power in this
population must be discussed. Although descriptive and
systematic reviews have been written on the effects of exer-
cise interventions on physical outcomes in frail subjects or
elderly with impaired mobility,
none of these previous
reviews analyzed the effects of different exercise interven-
tions on specific functional outcomes, such as balance, gait
ability, and the risk of falls in elderly with physical frailty.
This review will focus on supervised exercise programs
that improved muscle strength, balance, and gait ability and
decreased the risk of falls. In addition to these effects of
training, the present review will identify other characteristics
of the exercise programs, such as the volume, intensity, and
weekly frequency, as well as possible injuries and side ef-
fects. Training strategies to improve the functional capacity
of elderly individuals with physical frailty will then be re-
commended based on the scientific literature.
Literature Search
Definition of terms
The most frequent frailty definition is focused on the
evaluation of five domains, which are assessed by five cri-
teria (one per each domain): Weight loss, exhaustion, leisure
time activity, gait speed, and grip strength.
Along with
studies investigating frail and pre-frail subjects, in the pres-
ent review, we searched for studies that classified their
subjects as ‘‘physically frail older adults,’’ basing its classifi-
cation in the physical performance domains of frailty syn-
drome, such as gait speed, grip strength, and exhaustion. In
addition, we also searched for studies on elderly who were
aged 70 years and older and presented severe declines in the
physical function, such as lower limb weakness, poor bal-
ance, slow reaction time, and physical performance impair-
ments induced by recent history of injurious falls.
Search strategy
The Scielo, Science Citation Index, MEDLINE, Scopus,
Sport Discus, and ScienceDirect databases were searched
from February to September, 2012, for published articles
based on original scientific investigations during the period
from 1990 to 2012. The search terms included various com-
binations of the following keywords: ‘resistance training in
frail’, ‘endurance training in frail’, ‘exercise training in el-
derly’, ‘multi-component exercise interventions’, ‘muscle
power in elderly’, ‘muscle strength in elderly’, ‘combined
resistance and aerobic training’, and ‘muscle quality’. The
names of authors who were cited in some of the studies were
also used in the searches. This systematic review is reported
in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Sys-
tematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) statement.
Criteria for study consideration
The search criteria were as follows: (1) The studies must
have been published in English, peer-reviewed, scholarly
journals; (2) dissertations, theses, and conference proceed-
ings were excluded; (3) the studies must have mentioned the
effects of exercise training programs on at least one of the
following four functional parameters in the frail elderly, el-
derly with physical frailty, and elderly with severe functional
declines—incidence of falls, gait, balance, and lower-body
strength; and (4) detailed information about the exercise in-
terventions and the control group must have been provided.
The control group must be a no physical activity group
(maintenance of the habitual lifestyle) or home-based low-
level recreational exercise intervention with only stretching
and relaxation exercises. Exceptions were done in the studies
comparing two different exercise interventions. Data on ex-
ercise interventions that were associated with hormonal
treatments, drug therapy, or other supplements were ex-
cluded. Thus, only the results of the exercise interventions
alone were considered and are described in this review.
Inclusion of studies
From the preliminary search, 79 manuscripts had their
title read and 27 were selected for a second analysis, which
included the reading of the abstracts. Twenty original ran-
domized controlled trials that investigated the effects of ex-
ercise interventions in elderly with physical frailty were
included in the review (Fig. 1); the interventions included
strength training, endurance training, balance training, and
multi-component exercises. Ten of these studies investigated
the effects of multi-component exercise interventions,
six studies investigated the effects of resistance training,
one study investigated the effects of endurance training
combined with yoga,
and three studies investigated the ef-
fects of a Tai Chi intervention, which was considered to be a
balance training intervention.
Assessment of risk of bias
Risk of bias was evaluated according to the PRISMA rec-
Study quality assessment included ade-
quate sequence generation, allocation concealment, blinding
of outcomes assessors, use of intention-to-treat analysis, and
description of losses and exclusions. Studies without clear
descriptions of an adequate sequence generation or how the
allocation list was concealed were considered not to have
fulfilled these criteria. Quality assessment was indepen-
dently performed by 2 unblinded reviewers, and disagree-
ments were solved by consensus or by a third reviewer.
Among the included studies, 45% presented adequate se-
quence generation (9 of 20),
60% reported
allocation concealment (12 of 20),
80% had
blinded assessment of outcomes (16 of 20),
100% described losses to follow-up and exclusions (20 of
and 70% used the intention-to-treat principle for
statistical analyses (14 of 20).
Subject characteristics
present review was 171.8 196.6 subjects (ranging from 9
684 subjects
). The mean standard deviation (SD) of the
subjects’ ages was 78.2 5.3 (ranging from 70 2
to 90 2
In seven of the 20 included studies, the subjects were defined as
frail, pre-frail, and mild-to-moderate frail.
these studies, six presented criteria for classification of frailty
consistent with the literature.
Five studies classified
their subjects as elderly with physical frailty using criteria
consistent with the literature.
Six studies investigated
elderly aged 70 and older presenting recent history of injurious
falls, transition for frailty, and recent illness-induced functional
Finally, one study investigated sarcopenic
women presenting poor strength and gait ability levels based
on literature criteria,
and one study investigated elderly aged
90 and older.
Physical outcomes measurements
Among the included studies, the gait ability was assessed
by the 6-meter walk test and the Timed Up and Go test. The
balance performance was assessed by the tandem and semi-
tandem tests, Berg balance scale, one leg stand test, and
clinical test of sensory interaction and balance. The strength
measurements were done using the one repetition maximum
test (1RM) and isokinetic and isometric dynamometry. Data
on incidence of falls were assessed using validated ques-
Effects of Exercise Programs on Different Physical
Outcomes in Elderly with Physical Frailty
Incidence of falls
Ten studies investigated the effects of exercise interven-
tions on the incidence of falls in elderly with physical frailty.
Seven of the studies found a lower incidence of falls after the
physical training period
compared with the
control group, and three studies did not demonstrate any
Four of the studies that showed a reduced
incidence of falls used multi-component exercise programs in
their intervention,
one study used only resistance
and two studies used Tai Chi exercises.
mean decrease in the incidence of falls ranged from 22% to
58%. Among the three trials that did not reveal a significant
effect, in the study of Latham et al.,
the subjects partici-
pated in a home-based resistance exercise program using
60–80% of the individuals’ 1RM with ankle cuffs, with no
balance exercises included in the exercise intervention. In the
study of Freiberger et al.,
the subjects participated in a
multi-component exercise intervention; the authors justified
their results based on the study’s limitations, such as the
statistical power calculation, which was based on the Timed
Up and Go test data and may have prevented the results
from reaching statistical significance. In the study by Wolf
et al.,
the incidence of falls was compared between the Tai
Chi and wellness education interventions. In this study, the
incidence of falls was reduced in both groups after 48 weeks;
however, the authors stated that their study had the power
to detect a 50% reduction in the rate of falls, which did not
occur in their study.
Gait ability
Eleven trials investigated the effects of exercise interven-
tions on the gait ability in elderly with physical frailty. Six
studies revealed enhancements in the subjects’ gaits after the
physical training period,
whereas five studies
demonstrated no improvement.
Three of the studies
that demonstrated improvements in their subjects’ gaits used
multi-component exercise programs,
two studies used
only resistance exercises,
and one study used endurance
training combined with yoga.
The mean improvement in
gait ranged from 4% to 50%. Among the six studies that did
not reveal a significant effect, the study of Barnett et al.,
used a 1-year, home-based exercise intervention; the authors
justified the absence of changes in gait based on the em-
phasis on balance-related exercises and a low-frequency ex-
ercise program. Specific exercises for improving gait were
not used in the studies of Latham et al.,
Sullivan et al.,
Serra-Rexach et al.,
(resistance training intervention), Ha-
gedorn and Holm,
(resistance training and balance inter-
ventions), and Taylor et al.
(Tai Chi intervention).
Ten studies investigated the effects of exercise interven-
tions on balance in elderly with physical frailty. Eight of the
investigations revealed enhanced balance after the physical
training period,
whereas two studies did not
demonstrate any improvement.
Seven of the studies that
revealed enhancements in balance used multi-component
exercise programs that included balance training,
and one study included Tai Chi exercises.
The mean im-
provement in balance ranged from 5% to 80%. Of the two
research groups that did not determine a significant effect,
Lord et al.
suggested that their exercise interventions were
of insufficient intensity to produce gains in this domain; in-
deed, they mentioned in the intervention description that
most of the utilized exercises emphasized social interaction
and enjoyment.
As previously mentioned, the study of
Latham et al.
did not include any balance exercises in the
Muscle strength
Thirteen studies investigated the effects of exercise inter-
ventions on lower-body muscle strength in elderly with
physical frailty. Nine studies revealed increased muscle
strength after the physical training period,
whereas four studies did not identify any improve-
Five of the studies that demonstrated en-
hanced strength used resistance exercise programs,
and four studies used multi-component exercise interven-
The mean increase in strength ranged from 6%
to 60%. Of the four studies that did not reveal a significant
effect on muscle strength, Latham et al.
and Barnett et al.
used home-based exercise interventions, which may not have
provided sufficient stimuli for facilitating strength gains. In
the exercise intervention of Lord et al.,
it appears that only
weight-bearing exercises were performed, and no details
were provided regarding the exercise intensity used. In the
study of Kim et al.,
the subjects performed gait and balance
and strength exercise with ankle-weight cuffs from 0.50 kg to
1.50 kg and resistance bands, which may not have provided
sufficient stimuli for facilitating strength gains.
What Is the Best Exercise Intervention to Reduce
Falls and Disability and Improve Balance in Elderly
with Physical Frailty?
Several studies have investigated the effects of various
physical exercise programs on the functional capacity of el-
derly with physical frailty.
Resistance training,
endurance training, balance training, and combinations of
these programs (i.e., multi-component exercises) have yiel-
ded beneficial effects on certain functional parameters in frail
elderly subjects. As expected, greater gains in strength have
been achieved when resistance training was used in exercise
In addition, exercise programs (including
resistance training) have also enhanced functional parame-
ters, such as gait and balance, and reduced the risk of
Table 1 summarizes the methods applied and the
results obtained in the studies that have investigated exercise
interventions in elderly subjects with physical frailty.
Resistance training
Studies on resistance training in the elderly have shown
that this type of exercise intervention can improve neuro-
muscular activity, muscle mass, strength, power, and func-
tional capacity, as well as enhance cardiovascular function
when prescribed in combination with aerobic training.
Notwithstanding, a limited number of studies have investi-
gated the effects of resistance training in the oldest-old and
frail subjects. Fiatarone et al.
studied the adaptations in-
duced by resistance training in 100 frail elderly men and
women. The subjects underwent resistance training that
consisted of 3 sets of 8 repetitions at 80% of 1RM, 3 times per
week for 10 weeks. The results revealed that the resistance
training groups improved their habitual gait velocities, stair-
climbing abilities, and overall levels of physical activity.
Moreover, resistance training significantly enhanced the leg
muscle strength outcomes ( p<0.001). In a study by Serra-
Rexach et al.,
20 oldest-old subjects (90–97 years of age)
underwent resistance training 3 times a week for 8 weeks,
with 2–3 sets of 8–10 repetitions at 30% of 1RM in the initial
phase of training, progressing to 70% of 1RM. The results
demonstrated increases in the leg press strength (10.6 kg;
p<0.05), but no changes were observed in the speed during
an 8-meter walking test, the time to complete a 4-step stair
test, and the results of the Timed Up and Go test. Using a
similar progression of intensity, Hennessey et al.,
significant 1RM increases after 24 weeks of training in frail
elderly individuals (71.3 4.5 years of age). In this study, the
participants performed 3 sets of 8 repetitions at 20% of 1RM,
progressing gradually to 95% of 1RM. In another study,
Lustosa et al.
observed significant improvements in the
Timed Up and Go test, gait speed, and power at 180.s
pre-frail elderly subjects (72 4 years of age) after 12 weeks
of resistance training that was performed 3 times per week.
In this study, a half-squat exercise was performed using the
participants’ body weights as resistance.
In a study of the effectiveness of different training inten-
sities (% of 1RM) in frail elderly subjects (79.4 7.4 years of
age), Sullivan et al.
have shown greater strength increases
in the training groups that underwent progressively the in-
tensity of the resistance training (starting at 20% and pro-
gressing to 80% of 1RM) compared with the low-intensity
training groups that underwent resistance training (at 20% of
1RM during the entire 12-week training period).
In a study investigating the efficacy of home-based resis-
tance training, Latham et al.
assessed frail elderly men and
women who were over 65 (79.1 6.9) years of age. The
subjects performed 10 weeks of home-based resistance
training, with intensities between 60% and 80% of 1RM (3
sets of 8 repetitions). After the training period, no effects of
the resistance training were detected regarding the incidence
of falls, the timed walking test, the Timed Up and Go test,
and the Berg balance test compared with the control group.
In addition, no difference was observed in quadriceps
strength between the resistance training group and the con-
trol group after the training period.
In summary, resistance training programs that are per-
formed 3 times a week, with 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions and
an intensity starting at 20%–30% and progressing to 80% of
1RM, may be well tolerated by frail subjects, resulting in
positive effects on gait and gains in muscle strength. Table 2
summarizes the resistance training methods and the results
obtained in the studies that investigated the adaptations in-
duced by resistance training in frail elderly individuals. No
injuries or side effects were mentioned in the studies that
investigated the effects of strength training in frail elderly
To optimize functional capacity, resistance
training programs should include exercises in which the
participants’ body weights are used for resistance and in
which usual daily activities are simulated (such as the ‘‘sit to
stand’’ exercise). Furthermore, resistance exercises that are
performed with a high speed of motion promote greater
improvements in the functional task performance of healthy
elderly individuals.
Thus, the same benefits of high-
speed strength training may be observed in frail elderly pa-
tients, and this possibility should be investigated in future
Endurance training
Aging is associated with a decline in the cardiorespiratory
capacity that is primarily associated with a decrease in the
maximal heart output caused by a reduced maximum stroke
volume and heart rate and changes in the oxygen arterio-
venous difference.
To counteract these phenomena, en-
durance training induces central and peripheral adaptations
that enhance the maximal oxygen uptake (VO
) and the
ability of skeletal muscle to generate energy via oxidative
However, elderly subjects with severe
functional declines may not be able to perform endurance
training to recover some of their neuromuscular capacity.
Indeed, it has been demonstrated that power and strength
levels are positively associated with the cardiorespiratory
capacity in elderly subjects.
Thus, endurance interven-
tions in frail elderly individuals have previously included
endurance training within multi-component exercise pro-
Endurance exercises for the elderly include walking with
changes in pace and direction,
treadmill walking,
step-ups, stair climbing, and stationary cycling.
The en-
durance exercises may start with a duration of 5–10 min in
the first weeks of training, progressing to 15–30 min for the
remainder of the program.
Ehsani et al.
the effect of endurance exercise sessions in frail octogenari-
ans, starting with 20 min and progressing to 60 min of
walking at an intensity of 70%–75% of the maximal heart
rate. However, in this study, the endurance training was
performed after two previous phases of training, namely
1 month of physical therapy and 1 month of strength
Table 1. Effects of Different Types of Exercise Intervention on Rate of Falls, Gait Ability,
Balance, Cardiorespiratory, and Strength Performance
Authors N, age Intervention Primary results
Fiatarone et al.
100, 87 RT vs. RT +SUP: 3x/wk, 10 wk [Strength outcomes (26%–215%);
[gait speed (9%–15%).
Wolf et al.
200, 70 BT composed by Tai-Chi exercises,
2/wk, 15 wk.
YRate of falls (47%).
Lord et al.
551, 79 MCEP:RT +ET +BT, 2/wk, 48 wk YRate of falls (22%).
Hauer et al.
57, 82 MCEP:RT +BT, 3/wk, 12 wk [Strength (75%);
Yrate of falls (25%).
Kenny et al.
99, 76 Yoga +chair aerobics with and with no
DHEA SUP, 2/wk, 24 wk
[TUG test (4%);
[strength only in the SUP group.
Binder et al.
115, 83 MCEP: ET +RT +BT +COOT, 3/wk, 36 wk. [Strength outcomes;
[physical performance score.
King et al.
155, 77 MCEP: ET +RT +BT +FT, 1-3/wk, 48 wk. [Balance (35%).
Latham et al.
243, 79 Home-based RT, 3/wk, 10 wk. No changes in strength, falls, balance
and gait speed.
Barnett et al.
163, 75 MCEP: BAL +TAI +ET +BWRT, 1 yr, 37
supervised sessions.
No changes in strength, reaction time
and walking speed.
[Balance (6%–15%);
YRate falls: EG vs. CG (36%).
Ehsani et al.
46, 82 MCEP: ET +RT, 3/wk, 24 wk. [VO
Wolf et al.
286, 81 BT composed by Tai-Chi exercises, 2/wk,
48 wk vs. active control with low level
RT +ET, with no BT.
No difference between groups in the
incidence of falls.
Sullivan et al.
29, 79 RT: high vs. low intensity, with or with no
megestrol acetate SUP, 12 wk.
[Strength (23%) only in the RT at high
Hagedorn and
27, 81 MCEP: RT +BT with and with no visual
computer feedback 2/wk, 12 wk,
[Strength (19%);
[Overall balance scores (80%);
[6-min walk test (8%).
Lustosa et al.
48, 72 BWRT: 3x/wk, 10 wk, [Gait speed (10%);
[strength outcomes (6%).
et al.
40, 92 RT, 3/wk, 10 wk. [Strength (10.6kg);Yfalls (1.2 fewer).
Freiberger et al.
197, 76 3 MCEP: ST +BT vs. ET +ST +BT vs.
ST +BT +falls risk education. 2/wk, 16 wk.
[Gait speed in ST +BT and
No changes in the number of falls.
Kim et al.
115, 79 MCEP vs. MCEP +SUP: 2x/wk, 12 wk.
[Strength (6%);
[gait speed (12%–17%).
Clemson et al,
317, 83 MCEP:RT +BT, 3/wk, 12 wk YRate of falls (31%);
Henessey et al.
31, 71 RT vs. RT +GH SUP: 3/wk, 10 wk [Strength (*50%).
Taylor et al.
684, 74 BT composed by TAI, 1/ wk vs. 2/wk, 20 wk. YRate of falls (58%).
RT, Resistance training; ET, endurance training, BT, balance training; BWRT, body weight resistance training; MCEP, multicomponent
exercise program; TAI, Tai-Chi exercises; FT, flexibility training; COOT, coordenation training; SUP, supplementation; GH, growth hormone;
DHEA, dehydroepiandrosterone; wk, weeks; [, increase; Y, reduction.
training. This exercise intervention resulted in a 12.5% in-
crease in the VO
Thus, it may be necessary to
strengthen the neuromuscular system before initiating en-
durance training to achieve these cardiovascular adaptations.
Other methods for controlling the exercise intensity may be
the use of the rate-of-perceived-exertion scale
(i.e., Borg
in which intensities of 12–14 appear to be well tol-
Aerobic capacity is an important component of physical
fitness, and endurance training should be part of the exercise
Table 2. Training Characteristics of Systematic Resistance Training Programs Applied in Frail Elderly
(times per week)
(sets x
repetitions) Intensity (% of 1RM) Adverse effects
Fiatarone et al.
33·8 80% of 1RM No adverse effects mentioned.
Hauer et al.
33·10 70%–90% of 1RM No adverse effects mentioned.
Binder et al.
3 1: 1–2 ·6–8
2: 3 ·8-12
1: 65% of 1RM
2: 85%–100%
of initial 1RM
1 subject dropped out for medical
reasons related to study.
Sullivan et al.
23·8 10%–20% vs. 20%–80%
of 1RM
No adverse effects mentioned.
and Holm
23·10–15RM Not mentioned,
repetitions until failure
No adverse effects mentioned.
Villareal et al.
3 1–3 ·8–12 65%–80% of 1RM 1 subject related shoulder pain.
Serra-Rexach et al.
3 2–3 sets of 8–10
30% progressing to
70% of 1RM
No adverse effects mentioned.
Henessey et al.
33·8 20% progressing to
90% of 1RM
No adverse effects mentioned.
Izquierdo et al.
2 1–3 ·8–10 40% progressing to
60% of 1RM
No adverse effects mentioned.
1RM, maximum repetitions.
FIG. 1. Search process.
routine for frail elderly individuals. Although no studies
have compared the effectiveness of various endurance
training programs (i.e., different intensities and volumes),
this type of exercise should follow the basic principles of
training, with the intensity and duration progressively in-
creased based on the capacity of each participant.
Balance training
Balance training is another type of exercise intervention that
is aimed at preventing falls.
It is difficult to assess the effect
of balance training alone on the risk of falls and on balance
outcomes because this type of intervention is conventionally
included in multi-component exercise programs.
Balance training generally includes exercises, such as
tandem foot standing, multi-directional weight lifts, heel–toe
walking, line walking, stepping practice, standing on one leg,
catching/throwing a ball, altering the base of support,
weight transfers (from one leg to the other), and modified Tai
Chi exercises.
Studies have demonstrated that Tai Chi is
an effective fall-prevention intervention.
In an investiga-
tion of the effects of intense Tai Chi interventions, Wolf et al.
determined that 15 weeks of Tai Chi reduced the occurrence of
falls in elderly subjects. Likewise, in a recent study by Taylor
et al.
both Tai Chi and home-based multi-component exercise
programs were found to reduce the risk of falls (58%) in
community-residing older adults (74.5 6.5 years).
For the above-mentioned balance exercises, the training
should progress from easy to more difficult exercises, with
the physiological intensity of training increasing over time.
However, the effects of balance training on the risk of falls
should be carefully analyzed because the effectiveness of this
intervention has been demonstrated only when it is com-
bined with other components of physical fitness, such as
strength and endurance training.
Multi-component exercise programs
Multi-component exercise programs appear to be the most
effective interventions for improving the overall health status
of frail elderly individuals.
This statement is sup-
ported by the literature, in which positive effects on func-
tional capacity are more often observed when more than one
physical-conditioning component (i.e., strength, endurance,
or balance) comprises the exercise intervention,
compared with only one type of exercise.
Along with the
evidence provided, it is reasonable to suggest that different
kinds of stimulus, such as to improve muscle strength and
mass, cardiovascular function, gait ability, and balance, and
promote a greater increase in independence and in the ability
to perform daily activities. It is well known that the resis-
tance exercise programs are recommended to improve neu-
romuscular function,
endurance exercise programs are
recommended to enhance cardiovascular function,
balance training stimulates improvements on balance per-
Thus, multi-component exercise programs could
be composed with more emphasis in one these three types of
exercise interventions, according to a specific goal (i.e.,
strength and muscle mass in sarcopenic elderly).
Lord et al.
found that 12 weeks of an intervention that
included aerobics, slow-to-moderate-paced walking, and
flexibility, balance and weight-bearing exercises resulted in
22% fewer falls in frail elderly individuals compared with
control subjects. In addition, there were small increases in the
reaction time over a 6-min walking distance. Similar results
were observed by Barnett et al.,
who demonstrated that 1
year of a home-based multi-component exercise program
(composed of functional, strength, balance, and aerobic ex-
ercises) resulted in 40% fewer falls in an exercise intervention
group of elderly with physical frailty compared with a con-
trol group. Recently, Clemson et al.
investigated the effects of
12 months of an exercise intervention that consisted of balance
and strength exercises performed with ankle cuff weights by
elderly participants with recent history of injurious falls. These
authors demonstrated a reduction in the rate of falls (31%) and
greater strength and balance performance in the exercise
groups after the intervention period. In another study, Iz-
quierdo et al.
observed that 12 weeks of progressive resis-
tance training (8–10 repetitions at 40%–60% of 1RM) by using
resistance-variable machines (Exercycle, S.L. [BH Group],
Vitoria, Spain) combined with balance exercises yielded posi-
tive effects on the incidence and risk of falls and on the muscle
strength, dual-task performance, gait, and balance in very el-
derly institutionalized and frail patients.
The above-mentioned results are important because they
suggest that multi-component exercise interventions may re-
duce the incidence of falls and consequently prevent disability,
morbidity, and death. Other studies have demonstrated the
benefits of performing various types of exercises on the health
and physical independence of frail elderly individuals.
The physical outcomes that were improved in these studies
include balance,
muscle strength,
and VO
Some investigations have compared the effects of different
multi-component exercise interventions. Binder et al.
served greater enhancements in strength, VO
, and other
physical function tests (i.e., the Physical Performance Test and
Functional Status Questionnaire scores) in individuals who
participated in an assisted exercise intervention program
(strength, endurance, and balance) compared with those who
participated in a home-based exercise program. In another
study, Hagedorn and Holm
compared a combination of
strength training with two different types of balance training—
traditional training, which included standing on different
surfaces with opened or closed eyes (TB), and balance training
using a computer feedback system, which registered the po-
sition of the body (CB). The results of this study revealed that
both groups of frail elderly individuals increased their muscle
strength and physical endurance, with the CB group exhibiting
a remarkable increase during the games that were used for
training. A recent investigation by Freiberger et al.
the effects of three different multi-component exercise pro-
grams on several physical outcomes in elderly with history of
falls. The results revealed that the groups who performed
balance exercises combined with strength training (with or
without endurance training) exhibited greater improvements
in walking speed and in the Timed Up and Go and Romberg
tests than did a group that had received fall-risk education to
address fall-related psychological aspects. However, the three
intervention groups had better physical outcome scores than
the control group after the intervention period.
The above-mentioned results demonstrate the effectiveness
of multi-component exercise programs in improving the
physical fitness and health of frail elderly individuals. It should
be noted, however, that the progression of training and the
inclusion of different exercise stimuli should follow the
principles of physical fitness and should be slow and gradual,
especially in frail participants. An interesting approach to in-
creasing the training intensity was presented by Binder et al.
These authors used a training model with three blocks of 3
months, starting with exercises focused on flexibility, balance,
reaction speed, and coordination in the first phase; switching
to progressive resistance training in the second phase; and
advancing to endurance training on treadmills, stationary bi-
cycles, or rowing machines in the third phase.
A multi-component exercise intervention program that
consists of strength, endurance, and balance training appears
to be the best strategy for improving gait, balance, and
strength, as well as reducing the rate of falls in elderly indi-
viduals and consequently maintaining their functional ca-
pacity during aging. Most of the studies demonstrating
improvements in gait, balance, and fall risk have used multi-
component exercise training as intervention in their subjects.
However, the studies in which systematic resistance training
was performed (either alone or as part of multi-component
exercise programs) revealed greater strength gains in the el-
derly with physical frailty or severe functional declines. The
absence of changes in the functional and strength outcomes
that were measured in some of the investigations indicates
that the exercise prescription must be carefully adapted to
provide a sufficient stimulus for improving the functional
capacity of frail subjects. In addition, the present review fo-
cused only on the physical function domains of the concepts
of frailty and physical frailty. Thus, this systematic review is
only able to recommend strategies to improve the physical
function of physically frail individuals. On the basis of recent
evidence, exercise strategies to improve neuromuscular and
cardiovascular parameters and functional performance in
frail elderly individuals should include the following:
Resistance-training programs should be performed two
to three times per week, with three sets of 8–12 repeti-
tions at an intensity that starts at 20%–30% and pro-
gresses to 80% of 1RM.
To optimize the functional capacity of individuals, re-
sistance training programs should include exercises in
which daily activities are simulated, such as the sit-to-
stand exercise.
Endurance training should include walking with chan-
ges in pace and direction, treadmill walking, step-ups,
stair climbing, and stationary cycling. Endurance exer-
cise may start at 5–10 min during the first weeks of
training and progress to 15–30 min for the remainder of
the program. The Rate of Perceived Exertion scale is an
alternative method for prescribing the exercise intensity,
and an intensity of 12–14 on the Borg scale
appears to
be well tolerated.
Balance training should include several exercise stimuli,
such as tandem foot standing, multi-directional weight
lifts, heel–toe walking, line walking, stepping practice,
standing on one leg, weight transfers (from one leg to
the other), and modified Tai Chi exercises.
Multi-component training programs should include
gradual increases in the volume, intensity, and complexity
of the exercises, along with the simultaneous performance
of resistance, endurance, and balance exercises.
These recommendations, which are based on this sys-
tematic and narrative review, should be tested in new
clinical trials that are specifically designed for such a
purpose or in a formal meta-analysis.
This work was supported in part by the Spanish Depart-
ment of Health and Institute Carlos III of the Government of
Spain [Spanish Net on Aging and frailty; (RETICEF)], De-
partment of Health of the Government of Navarre and
Economy and Competitivity Department of the Government
of Spain, under grants numbered RD12/043/0002, 87/2010,
and DEP2011-24105 respectively. This project is also funded
in part by the European Commision (FP7-Health, Project
reference 278803).
Author Disclosure Statement
No competing financial interests exist.
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Address correspondence to:
Mikel Izquierdo
Department of Health Sciences
Public University of Navarra
Campus of Tudela
Av. de Tarazona s/n.
31500 Tudela (Navarra)
Received: December 10, 2012
Accepted: January 17, 2013
... Senior athletes engaged in training and competitions are a minority group that exhibit successful aging, being able to preserve healthy weight, high levels of fitness, independent living, and a reduced risk of noncommunicable diseases [11][12][13][14]. Instead, in the majority of aging people, disuse exacerbates the age-related decline of cardiorespiratory fitness, neuromuscular function, interlimb coordination, flexibility, endurance, and strength levels, further challenging the safety of older individuals in different settings (e.g., home, work, social environments) [5,15,16]. This is a societal challenge that has led to the emancipation of physical activity promotion from an add-on to a stand-alone public health topic that goes beyond the clinical settings of physical health promotion by the health sector and reveals the need for a shared leadership [17]. ...
... Then, the main objective was to evaluate the relationship between age and perception of health and quality of life and the potential mediating effects of functional fitness. Considering that a substantial part of the age-related decline in physical functioning is due to decreased or insufficient physical activity [4], with an impairment of interlimb coordination [19], neuromuscular function, flexibility and range of motion [15], and cardiorespiratory function [16], the first hypothesis for the preliminary objective was that physical activity level and age would affect both fitness and physical and mental health variables. Considering the mediated nature of the association between age and perceived health and quality of life in healthy individuals through factors such as body weight and energy balance [13,28] that, in turn, are typically associated with fitness [20,21], we hypothesized that a mediating chain including functional fitness may connect age to the perception of health and quality of life. ...
Full-text available
In aging societies, physical activity may benefit functional fitness influencing the health of older people. The aim of this study was to explore the interrelation between age and perception of health and quality of life, and the mediating effects of functional fitness in older individuals. One hundred and sixty-six late middle-aged (55–64 years, young-old (65–74 years), and old (75–84 years) adults, divided into senior athletes (n = 44), physically active (n = 59), and sedentary individuals (n = 63) were evaluated for functional fitness (flexibility, strength, interlimb coordination, endurance) and physical (Physical Component Summary-PCS) and mental (Mental Component SummaryMCS) health and quality of life perception. Multiple mediation analyses were applied to assess the relationship between age and PCS and MCS indices and the role of functional fitness-related mediators. For MCS only, the mediation analysis showed a positive total and direct effect of age and a negative total indirect effect through mediators. No effects emerged for PCS. Despite a decline in their functional fitness, older individuals were able to maintain a mental health perception, also demonstrating how beneficial effects of physically active lifestyle on functional fitness can positively impact the cognitive-emotional dimension of mental health with advancing age.
... Plusieurs études ont montré que les programmes d'entraînement permettaient d'améliorer les performances de marche en ST (Plummer et al., 2016;Zhuang et al., 2014) et de diminuer le risque de chute chez les personnes âgées (Cadore et al., 2013;Sherrington et al., 2017). L'amélioration de la performance de marche est principalement due à l'augmentation de la force musculaire des membres inférieurs (Zhuang et al., 2014). ...
... Les entraînements vont également augmenter la vitesse de marche des personnes âgées en situation de DT (Plummer et al., 2016). Il semblerait que les entraînements combinant plusieurs types d'exercices (résistance, endurance et équilibre) soient les plus bénéfiques pour renforcer les performances de marche et réduire de risque de chute des personnes âgées (Cadore et al., 2013). ...
Avec l’âge et la survenue de maladie neurodégénérative comme la maladie de Parkinson, des troubles cognitifs et moteurs peuvent apparaitre et avoir des répercussions sur les activi-tés de la vie quotidienne. Les troubles de la marche et par conséquent le risque de chute, dans le vieillisse-ment normal et pathologique, représente un enjeu majeur de santé publique. Parmi les facteurs pouvant expliquer ces troubles, l’activité préfrontale pendant la marche au cours du vieillissement et avec la maladie de Parkinson a été relativement peu investiguée. Les objectifs de cette thèse étaient de : 1) mieux comprendre les changements d’activité préfron-tale pendant la marche avec l’avancée en âge et en présence de la maladie de Parkin-son et 2) dé-terminer dans quelle mesure un programme de rééducation physique intensif pouvait modifier l’activité préfrontale chez ces patients. Afin de répondre au premier l’objectif, 93 participants répartis en 4 groupes (jeunes adultes, jeunes-âgés, âgés et patients atteints de la maladie de Parkinson) ont été inclus. L'ac-tivité préfron-tale a été mesurée à travers la spectroscopie proche infrarouge fonctionnelle (fNIRS) pendant dif-férentes tâches de marche variant en complexité. Pour répondre au se-cond objectif, l’activité pré-frontale pendant la marche a été mesurée avant et après un pro-gramme de rééducation intensif basé sur de l’exercice physique chez des patients avec le même dispositif. Les résultats montrent une augmentation progressive de l’activité préfrontale avec l’âge et avec la maladie de Parkinson. Cette augmentation est présente dès 55 ans en condition de marche en simple tâche, sans que les performances de marche soient pour autant altérées par rapport à des jeunes adultes. Ceci reflèterait une demande en ressources exécutives plus importante pour réali-ser la tâche de marche. Toutefois, en situation de double tâche, les per-sonnes les plus âgées et les patients présentent une suractivation préfrontale, associée à une plus mauvaise performance de marche. Cela suggère que les personnes âgées et les patients ne sont plus en mesure de compen-ser efficacement les déficits liés à l’âge pour réaliser la tâche de marche en double tâche. Après un programme de rééducation intensif, l’activité pré-frontale pendant la marche en simple tâche di-minue chez des patients parkinsoniens, témoi-gnant une diminution de la demande en ressources exécutives et donc d’un gain dans l’auto-maticité de l’exécution de la marche. En conclusion, ce travail de thèse permet de mieux comprendre les modifications neuro-physiologiques avec l’avancée en âge et la maladie de Parkinson. D’un point de vue clinique, ce travail pourrait également aider à identifier plus précocement les personnes à risque de chute.
... Çalışmamızda değişkenlerden olan ve tek değişkenli analizlerde son 1 yılda düşme için risk faktörü olarak bulunan eğitim durumunun düşük olması, gelir durumu algısının düşük olması, kronik bir hastalığının olması, egzersiz yapmama ve günlük işlerinde bağımlı olma ile ilgili ileri analizlerde ilişki saptanmamıştır. Yapılan çalışmalarda ise eğitim seviyesinin düşük olması (13,29,30), gelir durumu algısının düşük olması (13,29), herhangi bir kronik hastalığının olması (31)(32)(33), egzersiz yapmama (34,35) ve günlük işlerinde bağımlı olma (11,13) (13), 2016 yılında yapılan bir derlemede uykusuzluğun düşme riskini artırdığı saptanmıştır (40). Çalışma-mızda, yaşlıda görme sorunu olması ile nörolojik bir belirtinin sık sık yaşanması (çarpıntı, baş dönmesi, el ayak uyuşması) literatüre benzer biçimde düşme için risk faktörü olduğu bulunmuştur (42)(43)(44). ...
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In this study, it was aimed to determine the frequency of falls and related factors in individuals aged 65 and over in the last year in two family health centers in Balıkesir city center. The cross-sectional study was conducted in March-April 2018 period. The population of the research is 1710 people and the sample size is 300 people. The dependent variable of the study was fall in the last year, independent variables, socio-demographic characteristics, health-related characteristics , and environmental conditions. Analysis for; Chi-square test and t-test ANOVA were used. Logistic regression model was applied for further analysis. The frequency of falls was 23,3% in the last 6 months; 40% in the last year; recurrent fall is 21,3%. The most common reason for falling is balance disruption (31,7%). According to logistic regression analysis, being a woman was 1,94 times (1.11-3.55), having visual problems was 4.64 times (1.65-13.07), having sleep problems was 2.37 times (1.27-4.39), and neurological complaints were 2.25 times (1.16-4.39). Being in a depressive mood increases the risk of falling 2.22 times (1.25-3.93). In Balıkesir, the incidence of elderly falls is high and 4 out of every 10 elderly fall within a year and half of those fall again. Including the follow-ups in the 1st step in the elderly and monitoring the elderly who are at risk in terms of falling with active surveillance system; In Balıkesir, it would be beneficial to make the follow-up routine by accepting the elderly as the risk group. Bu çalışmada Balıkesir il merkezinde iki aile sağlığı merkezi böl-gesinde yaşayan 65 yaş ve üzeri bireylerde son bir yıl içinde düşme sıklığı ve ilişkili faktörlerin saptanması amaçlanmıştır. Kesitsel tip-teki çalışma Mart-Nisan 2018 döneminde yürütülmüştür. Araştırma-nın evrenini 1710 kişi, örnek büyüklüğünü 300 kişi oluşturmaktadır. Araştırmanın bağımlı değişkeni son bir yılda düşme, bağımsız değiş-kenler, sosyo-demografik özellikler, sağlıkla ilgili özellikler, çevresel koşullardır. Analizlerde; Ki-kare testi, t testi ANOVA kullanılmıştır. İleri analizlerde lojistik regresyon modeli uygulanmıştır. Araştırma-da düşme sıklıkları son 6 ayda %23,3; son bir yılda %40; tekrar-layan düşme %21,3'tür. En sık düşme nedeni denge bozulmasıdır (%31,7). Lojistik regresyon çözümlemesine göre kadın olmak 1,94 kat (1.11-3.55), görme sorununun olması 4.64 kat (1.65-13,07), uyku sorunun olması 2.37 kat (1.27-4.39), nörolojik yakınma olması 2.25 kat (1.16-4.39), depresif duygu durum içinde olma 2.22 kat (1.25-3.93) düşme riskini arttırmaktadır. Balıkesir'de yaşlıların düşme sıklığı yüksek olup her 10 yaşlıdan 4'ü bir yıl içerisinde düşmekte-dir ve düşenlerin yarısı tekrar düşmektedir. Yaşlılarda izlemlerin 1. basamak kapsamına alınması ve düşme açısından riskli yaşlıların aktif sürveyans sistemi ile izlenmesi; Balıkesir'de, yaşlılar risk gru-bu olarak kabul edilerek, izlemlerinin rutin hale getirilmesi yararlı olacaktır.
... [6][7][8][9][10] Multicomponent exercise also appears to contribute to preventing falls and improving quality of life. 11,12 The VIVIFRAIL © multicomponent exercise program is an international reference for the prevention of frailty and falls in older adults and suggests that public interventions are necessary to promote physical activity in this population. 13 The Exercise Orientation Service (EOS) is a pioneering physical activity program in the Brazilian Unified Health System (SUS, for the acronym in Portuguese), provided by the municipal health department of Vitoria, capital of Espírito Santo state, which aims to contribute to promoting health and quality of life. ...
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Objectives: This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate (1) postural control performance in different postural tasks and (2) muscle strength and power of the hip, knee, and ankle of active vs inactive older adults. Methods: The sample consisted of 61 healthy community-dwelling older adults, classified into 2 groups: active, consisting of participants of a multicomponent exercise program offered through the Exercise Orientation Service; and inactive. Participants were considered physically active/inactive in the past 3 months. Postural control was assessed using a force plate in 8 postural tasks. Muscle function was evaluated using an isokinetic dynamometer. T-tests were used to compare clinical characteristics between the groups. ANCOVA and MANCOVA were used to compare differences in variables of postural control and muscle function. Results: Active participants had higher levels of physical activity, clinical balance, and quality of life than inactive participants. The active group had lower values for area (center of pressure) than the inactive group under the following conditions: bipedal stance on an unstable surface with eyes open and with eyes closed, and semi-tandem stance on an unstable surface with eyes open. The active group showed greater muscle power, with higher mean power values for hip abduction and adduction, knee extension, and knee flexion and shorter time to peak torque for hip adduction and ankle dorsiflexion than the inactive group. Conclusions: Multicomponent exercise programs delivered in primary health care settings contributed to improving postural control and muscle power in this sample of older adults, which can potentially help prevent falls and improve quality of life.
Background Declines in cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and muscle mass are both associated with advancing age and each of these declines is associated with worse health outcomes. Resistance exercise training (RET) has previously been shown to improve muscle mass and function in the older population. If RET is also able to improve CRF, as it has been shown to do in younger populations, it has the potential to improve multiple health outcomes in the expanding older population. Methods This systematic review aimed to identify the role of RET for improving CRF in healthy older adults. A search across CINAHL, MEDLINE, EMBASE and EMCARE databases was conducted with meta-analysis performed on eligible papers to identify improvements in established CRF parameters (VO2 peak, aerobic threshold (AT), 6-minute walking distance test (6MWT) following RET intervention. Main eligibility criteria included older adults (aged over 60), healthy cohorts (disease-specific cohorts were excluded) and RET intervention. Results Thirty-seven eligible studies were identified. Meta-analysis revealed a significant improvement in VO2 peak (MD 1.89 ml/kg/min; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.21–2.57 ml/kg/min), AT (MD 1.27 ml/kg/min; 95% CI 0.44–2.09 ml/kg/min) and 6MWT (MD 30.89; 95% CI 26.7–35.08) in RET interventions less than 24 weeks. There was no difference in VO2 peak or 6MWT in interventions longer than 24 weeks. Discussion This systematic review adds to a growing body of evidence supporting the implementation of RET in the older population for improving whole-body health, particularly in time-limited timeframes.
Objective To compare the effects of a multicomponent exercise program and a dual-task exercise program on the number of falls (fall rate) and number of fallers (fall incidence) and on parameters associated with fall risk in older adults living in long-term nursing homes (LTNH). Study design This is a secondary analysis of a single-blind randomized controlled trial involving 85 older adults in nine LTNHs (Gipuzkoa, Spain). Participants allocated to the multicomponent group underwent a twice-a-week 3-month individualized and progressive resistance and balance program. The dual-task group performed simultaneous cognitive training with the same multicomponent exercises. Main outcomes Fall rate and incidence were analyzed using Poisson regression (adjusting for cognitive function and previous fall rate) and Kaplan-Meier analysis, respectively. Handgrip asymmetry, single- and dual-task TUG velocity and cost were assessed using two-way ANOVA for repeated measures and paired Student's t-tests. Results The dual-task group showed a 3.8 times greater risk of falling than the multicomponent group during the intervention, and a 2.59 times greater risk during the 12-month follow-up. There were no between-group differences in fall incidence. There were between-group differences in handgrip strength asymmetry in favor of the multicomponent group. While only the multicomponent group improved on the TUG test, the dual-task group improved on dual-task cost. Conclusions Compared with the dual-task program, the multicomponent exercise program showed more benefits in reducing falls and in parameters associated with fall risk in LTNH residents. Future studies are warranted to confirm our results and continue to explore physical and cognitive interventions to prevent falls in LTNHs. Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12618000536268.
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Exercise is an increasingly widely used treatment for older people across a range of clinical conditions including sarcopenia and physical frailty. Whilst exercise can have many benefits for older people, adaptations to exercise are specific to the exercise mode that is performed and not all exercise is created equal. The correct type of exercise, at the correct dose, needs to be prescribed to maximise effectiveness in treating sarcopenia and physical frailty where maintaining or improving muscle strength and physical function represent key aims. Resistance exercise (RE) is the most potent approach to improving muscle strength and physical function and should be prioritised within exercise programmes delivered to this group. Resistance exercise programme design should be underpinned by the fundamental principles of exercise prescription in order to deliver an appropriate and individualised exercise dose to maximise the potential of RE as a treatment for older people living with sarcopenia and physical frailty.
Aim To evaluate the effect of the Otago Exercise Programme on the frailty of non-institutionalized people between 65 and 80 years of age and study factors associated with frailty. Method Pre-post test study (baseline and after 12 months) without control group in people aged 65–80 years (living in the community and with independent ambulation) after being trained in the Otago Exercise Programme in 5 sessions: weeks 1, 2, 4 and 8, and a reinforcement session at 6 months. Patients were recruited from 3 health areas (n = 200). Frailty was assessed with the FRAIL scale. Results There were 198 people who started the study and 161 completed the 12-month follow-up. The average age of the sample was 72.28 years; predominance of female sex 64.65%; low educational level 76.50%; people living alone 24.50%; overweight in 42%, and grade I obesity in 32.32%. Significant differences were observed with a P = .023 in the level of frailty between baseline and 12 months. The exploratory analysis identified significant differences before and after the intervention by sex (being a woman) (P = .018) and condition of living alone (P = .0468). Conclusions The Otago Exercise Programme prevents positive results in frailty in people 65 to 80 years of age and can help maintain function and prevent deterioration.
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changes negatively aff ect the muscles of the lower limbs, particularly at the knee and ankle [ 6 , 20 ] , leading to impaired mobility and ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL). For example, Skelton et al. showed that aging decreases strength and power capacities and these variables are related to the ability to per-form functional activities like standing and step-ping up [ 48 ] . The impact of aging on the neuromuscular sys-tem diff ers not only in terms of muscle groups and type of contraction studied [ 21 , 29 , 50 ] , but also in the onset latency of muscle activation (OM) [ 37 ] . From a functional and therapeutic perspective, the capacity for the rapid
To compare the effects of the 16-wk training period (2 d.wk(-1)) of resistance training alone (S), endurance training alone (E), or combined resistance (once weekly) and endurance (once weekly) training (SE) on muscle mass, maximal strength and power of the leg and arm extensor muscles, and maximal workload (Wmax) by using a incremental cycling test in older men. Thirty-one healthy men (65-74 yr) were divided into three treatment groups to train 2x wk(-1) for 16 wk: S (N = 10), E (N = 11), or SE (N = 10; 1x wk(-1) S + 1x wk(-1) E). The subjects were tested at 8-wk intervals (i.e., weeks 8 and 16). There were no significant differences between S- and SE-induced muscle hypertrophy (11% and 11%) and maximal strength (41% and 38%) gains of the legs as well as between E- and SE-induced Wmax (28% and 23%) gains. The increase in arm strength in S (36%) was greater than that recorded in SE (22%) and greater than that recorded in E (0%). Prolonged combined resistance and endurance training in older men seemed to lead to similar gains in muscle mass, maximal strength, and power of the legs as resistance training alone and to similar gains in maximal peak power output measured in an incremental cycling test as endurance training alone. These findings may have an effect on how resistance exercise is prescribed to older adults.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of two exercise approaches, Tai Chi (TC) and computerized balance training (BT), on specified primary outcomes (biomedical, functional, and psychosocial indicators of frailty) and secondary outcomes (occurrence of falls).DESIGN: The Atlanta FICSIT (Frailty and Injuries: Cooperative Studies of Intervention Techniques), a prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trial with three arms (TC, BT, and education [ED]). Intervention length was 15 weeks, with primary outcomes measured before and after intervention and at 4-month follow-up. Falls were monitored continuously throughout the study.SETTING: Persons aged 70 and older living in the community.PARTICIPANTS: A total of 200 participants, 162 women and 38 men; mean age was 76.2.MEASUREMENTS: Biomedical (strength, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, body composition), functional (IADL), and psychosocial well-being (CES-D scale, fear of falling questionnaire, self-perception of present and future health, mastery index, perceived quality of sleep, and intrusiveness) variables.RESULTS: Grip strength declined in all groups, and lower extremity range of motion showed limited but statistically significant changes. Lowered blood pressure before and after a 12-minute walk was seen following TC participation. Fear of falling responses and intrusiveness responses were reduced after the TC intervention compared with the ED group (P = .046 and P = .058, respectively). After adjusting for fall risk factors, TC was found to reduce the risk of multiple falls by 47.5%.CONCLUSIONS: A moderate TC intervention can impact favorably on defined biomedical and psychosocial indices of frailty. This intervention can also have favorable effects upon the occurrence of falls. Tai Chi warrants further study as an exercise treatment to improve the health of older people.
Purpose: To examine maximal strength, power and muscle cross-sectional area, maximal and submaximal cycling endurance characteristics, and serum hormone concentrations of testosterone (T), free testosterone (FT), and cortisol (C) in middle-aged and elderly men. Methods: Maximal knee extension force (isometric; MIF(KE)), power-load curves during concentric actions with loads ranging from 15% to 70% of 1 RM half-squat (1RM(HS)), muscle cross-sectional area of quadriceps femoris (CSA(QF)), workload, heart rate and lactate accumulation during incremental cycling, and serum hormone concentrations were measured in 26 middle-aged (M42 yr) and 21 elderly men (M65 yr). Results: The 1RM(HS) (14%), MIF(KE) (24%) and CSA(QF) (13%) were lower in M65 than in M42 (P < 0.05-0.01). Power during submaximal actions was lower (P < 0.05-0.001) in M65 than in M42, but the differences disappeared when expressed relative to CSA(QF). Serum FT was in M42 higher (P < 0.05) than in M65. Maximal workload, maximal heart rate and peak blood lactate during cycling in M65 were 31%, 11%, and 20% lower than in M42 (P < 0.01). During submaximal cycling blood lactate rose more rapidly with increasing workload in M65 than in M42 (P < 0.05-0.01), but the differences disappeared when expressed relative to CSA(QF). Significant correlations existed between individual values of serum FT:C ratio, C and T, and those of muscle strength and maximal workload. Conclusion: Declines in maximal strength, muscle mass, and endurance performance seem to take place with increasing age, although muscle power and demand for aerobic energy per unit of muscle tissue during submaximal loads remain similar. The balance between anabolic and catabolic hormones in aging people over the years may be associated with age-related decreased strength and declines in maximal cycling workload.