Does a Multicomponent Exercise Program Improve Physical Fitness in Older Adults? Findings From a 5-Year Longitudinal Study

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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The objective was to assess the physical fitness of older adults participating in a 5-year multicomponent exercise program. The sample consisted of 138 older adults aged 60–93 years (70.4 ± 7.8 years) evaluated with the Senior Fitness Test (muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and cardiorespiratory fitness). The multicomponent program was carried out between the months of March and November of each year. Data were analyzed using generalized estimating equations (factor year: Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, Year 4, and Year 5; factor time: pretest and posttest) with Bonferroni’s post hoc test. Participation in the multicomponent exercise program for 5 years (baseline pretest Year 1 and follow-up Year 5) improved lower and upper limb strength, lower limb flexibility, and balance and cardiorespiratory fitness, while upper limb flexibility was maintained. Year-by-year analysis revealed variable patterns for each fitness parameter. The results of this study show the potential benefits of implementing a long-term community-based exercise program.

The authors are with the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Gonçalves (andreakg@ufrgs.br) is corresponding author.
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