Feasibility and Health Effects of a 15-Week Combined Exercise Programme for Sedentary Elderly: A Randomised Controlled Trial
Tina-Thea Nielsen, Trine K. Møller, Lars L. Andersen, Mette K. Zebis, Peter R. Hansen, Peter Krustrup
BioMed Research International
There is strong evidence that considerable health benefits can be achieved even with small amounts of physical activity. However, getting people to exercise regularly is a major challenge not least in the elderly population. This study investigated the feasibility and physiological health effects of a pragmatic 15-week exercise programme for sedentary elderly. In a single-blind randomised controlled trial, 45 sedentary 60-83-year-olds (25 women, 20 men) were randomly assigned (2:1 ratio) to a
... aining group (TG, n=30) or a control group (CG, n=15). The training in TG consisted of a combination of exercise modalities (i.e., strength, aerobic fitness, stability, and flexibility training) performed once a week as supervised group-based training and a weekly home-based training for 15 weeks. Feasibility outcomes were exercise intensity, adherence, and adverse events. The primary outcome was change in aerobic fitness (VO2max/kg). Adherence was high (81%) for the supervised exercise and low (0%) for the home-based exercise. No acute injuries occurred in TG, but 4 subjects (13%) reported considerable joint pain related to training. Average heart rate (HR) during the supervised training was 104±12 beats/min (69.3±8.0%HRmax), with 3.9±7.3% of training time >90%HRmax. Intention-to-treat analyses revealed no between-group differences for aerobic fitness (P=0.790) or any secondary cardiovascular outcomes at 15-week follow-up (resting HR or blood pressure; P>0.05). Compared to CG, bodyweight (-2.3 kg, 95% CI -4.0 to -7.0; P=0.006), total fat mass (-2.0 kg, 95% CI -3.5 to -0.5; P=0.01), and total fat percentage (-1.6%, 95% CI -2.8 to -0.3; P=0.01) decreased in TG. The group-based supervised training had high adherence and moderate exercise intensity, whereas the home-based training was not feasible in this study population. This exercise programme performed once a week did not improve aerobic fitness. Thus, supervised training with more vigorous intensity control appears advisable. Clinical Study registration number is H-15016951.