Previous evidence suggests physical activity interventions effectively produce short-term improvements in physical function for older adults. The present study examined whether improvements in physical function after a DVD-delivered exercise intervention were maintained 18 months postintervention. Older adults (n = 153) randomized to a 6-month DVD-delivered exercise intervention or an attentional control condition were contacted 18 months postintervention. Participants completed the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) and measures of flexibility, strength, and functional limitations were taken. Analyses of variance were conducted to determine if improvements in physical function as a result of the intervention were maintained at follow-up. Improvements in the SPPB, F (1,125) = 3.70, p = .06, η2 = .03, and upper body strength, F (1,121) = 3.04, p = .08, η2 = .03 were maintained for the intervention condition. Home-based DVD exercise training interventions may hold promise for long-term maintenance of physical function in older adults.
Roberts, Awick, Fanning, Ehlers, Motl, and McAuley are with the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL.