The aim of this study was to assess the direct and indirect effects of a multicomponent exercise (MCE) program on mobility and balance in institutionalized older people. One hundred and twelve subjects (85 women; 83.0 years on average; SD = 7.5) were included in the study, and divided into a MCE-group (MCE-G) and a control group (CG) according to matching techniques. The MCE-G consisted of a 9-month program featuring range-of-motion, strength, and balance exercises performed in small groups. The CG received routine medical and nursing care. The timed up-and-go test and Tinetti Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment balance subscale were administered at baseline and postintervention. After controlling for physical baseline value, age, sex, residential care facilities, and body mass index, the MCE-G showed positive effects both on mobility (p < .001) and balance (p = .001). The role of balance as mediator in the relationship between participation to the MCE program and mobility was demonstrated.
Mulasso and Settanni are with the Department of Psychology, University of Torino, Torino, Italy. Roppolo is with the Department of Psychology, University of Torino, Torino, Italy; and the Department of Developmental Psychology, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands. Liubicich is with the SUISM, Services Centre, University of Torino, Torino, Italy. Rabaglietti is with the Department of Psychology, University of Torino, Torino, Italy; and the SUISM, Services Centre, University of Torino, Torino, Italy.