2010 Volume 20 Issue 1 Pages 21-29
Background: Although studies suggest that exercise training improves physical performance and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among elderly people, most of these studies have investigated relatively healthy persons. The objective of the present study was to determine the effects of a 12-month multicomponent exercise program on physical performance, daily physical activity, and HRQOL among very elderly people with minor disabilities.
Methods: The subjects consisted of 65 elders (median age: 84 years) who were certified to receive long-term care in the form of support only or Level 1 care (the lowest level of care required); 31 were allocated to the intervention group and 34 to the control group. The intervention group participated in supervised exercises once a week for 12 months and in home-based exercises. The exercise program consisted of various exercises related to flexibility, muscle strength, balance, and aerobic performance.
Results: After 12 months of exercise training, the intervention group had significant improvements in lower-limb strength and on the sit-and-reach test; these effects were not observed in the control group. The control group had significant decreases in grip strength, 6-minute walking distance, walking speed, and stride length; these decreases were not observed in the intervention group. No clear differences in HRQOL measurements or changes in physical activity were detected between groups.
Conclusions: The 12-month multicomponent exercise program may effectively improve and maintain the physical performance of very elderly individuals with minor disabilities.