The Effects of Physical Therapists’ Guidance on Improvement in a Strength-Training Program for the Frail Elderly

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Elderly participants experiencing difficulty in chair rising and with a maximum knee-extensor torque below 87.5 N · m were randomized to different versions of a strength-training program for the knee-extensors: to a high-guidance group (HG; two group sessions supervised by a physical therapist and one unsupervised home session per week, n = 17), a medium-guidance group (MG; one supervised group session and two unsupervised home sessions per week, n = 16), or a control group (C; no exercise, n = 16). Maximal isometric knee strength increased more in HG than in C (p = .03) and with increasing guidance (p = .03). The effect was mainly the result of participants with low initial strength. Walking speed increased more for HG than for C (p = .02) and than for MG (p = .06). No statistically significant improvements were seen on other functional tests. In summary, the study shows a trend toward better results with more supervision, but more and larger studies are needed to confirm this.

The authors are with TNO Prevention and Health, Department of Physical Activity and Health, 2301 Leiden, The Netherlands.