2011 Volume 21 Issue 5 Pages 363-369
Background: We examined the long-term effects of home-based bench-stepping exercise training on total healthcare expenditure (TOHEX) and number of outpatient visits (NOVIS) in elderly adults.
Methods: A total of 189 elderly Japanese (age 73 ± 4 years) participated in this study. They were randomly assigned to either an exercise or control group. TOHEX, NOVIS, and outpatient expenditure (OPEX) were evaluated every 6 months from 1 year before the start to the end of the intervention period, as well as 1 year after the end of the intervention. The exercise group was encouraged to perform home-based bench-stepping exercise training on most, and preferably all, days of the week for 18 months.
Results: The exercise group showed significant increases in lactate threshold as compared with pre-intervention values. There were no significant differences in TOHEX, OPEX, or NOVIS between the exercise and control groups 1 year before the start of the intervention, and the values remained similar during the first 12 months of the intervention period. However, at 18 months, TOHEX, NOVIS, and OPEX were significantly lower in the exercise group than in the control group (TOHEX: 170 007 ± 192 072 vs. 294 705 ± 432 314 yen, P = 0.008; NOVIS: 19.2 ± 26.3 vs. 28.2 ± 32.1 days, P = 0.012; OPEX: 132 973 ± 132 016 vs. 187 799 ± 158 167 yen, P = 0.005).
Conclusions: The data indicate that a long-term home-based bench-stepping exercise program can reduce healthcare expenditure in elderly Japanese.