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Pai-Yun Cheng, Hsiao-Feng Chieh, Chien-Ju Lin, Hsiu-Yun Hsu, Jia-Jin J. Chen, Li-Chieh Kuo and Fong-Chin Su

This study aims toward an investigation and comparison of the digital force control and the brain activities of older adults and young groups during digital pressing tasks. A total of 15 young and 15 older adults were asked to perform force ramp tasks at different force levels with a custom pressing system. Near-infrared spectroscopy was used to collect the brain activities in the prefrontal cortex and primary motor area. The results showed that the force independence and hand function of the older adults were worse than that of the young adults. The cortical activations in the older adults were higher than those in the young group during the tasks. A significant hemodynamic between-group response and mild negative correlations between brain activation and force independence ability were found. Older adults showed poor force independence ability and manual dexterity and required additional brain activity to compensate for the degeneration.

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Sabrine N. Costa, Edgar R. Vieira and Paulo C. B. Bento

The aims of this study were to compare the effects of a multicomponent exercise program provided at a center (CB) versus done part at home and part at a center (H+CB) on frailty status, strength, physical function, and gait of prefrail older women. Twenty-five women were randomly allocated into the CB (n = 14; 69 ± 6 years) and the H+CB (n = 11; 69 ± 7 years) groups. Both groups completed an exercise program including strengthening, balance, and gait exercises. The program was 12 weeks long, done three times per week, for 60 min per session. Frailty, knee and hip muscle strength, spatiotemporal parameters of the usual and maximum speed dual-task gait, and physical function were assessed at baseline and after program completion. The exercise program reversed the prefrail status of most participants independently of the mode of delivery. Strength increased in both groups, but the CB group had more pronounced improvements in gait and physical function. H+CB exercise programs are good options for prefrail older women.

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Francisco Alvarez-Barbosa, Jesús del Pozo-Cruz, Borja del Pozo-Cruz, Antonio García-Hermoso and Rosa María Alfonso-Rosa

The aim of this study was to quantify the effect of whole-body vibration on balance, functional mobility, gait, functional performance, and quality of life in institutionalized older people. Eight databases were systematically reviewed, as recommended by the Cochrane Collaboration. This systematic review was designed to answer the acronym set by the participants, interventions, comparators, and outcomes (PICO)-model. Ten randomized controlled trials were included in the meta-analysis. The analysis of the mean differences (MDs) of the functional mobility assessed with Time Up and Go test was MD = −2.49 s (95% confidence interval, CI, [−4.37, −0.61]; I 2 = 68%). In 279 participants from five studies, the overall MD = 0.49 (95% CI [−0.13, 1.11]; I 2 = 23%) for gait, and MD = 0.96 (95% CI [−0.45, 2.37]; I 2 = 85%) for balance, which represents the total Tinetti score, MD = 1.59 (95% CI [−0.52, 3.70]; I 2 = 82%). In summary, whole-body vibration could have benefits on functional mobility in institutionalized older people.

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Marina Arkkukangas, Susanna Tuvemo Johnson, Karin Hellström, Elisabeth Anens, Michail Tonkonogi and Ulf Larsson

This study investigates the effectiveness of two fall-prevention exercise interventions targeting physical performance, activity level, fall-related self-efficacy, health-related quality of life, and falls: the Otago Exercise Programme (OEP) with and the OEP without behavior change support. In this randomized controlled trial, 175 participants were randomized into two intervention groups and one control group. A total of 124 community-dwelling older adults aged 75 and older who needed walking aids or home support participated in the 2-year follow-up. The OEP with and without support for behavior change displayed no long-term benefits on physical performance, fall-related self-efficacy, health-related quality of life, and falls compared with a control group. Although no significant differences were detected between the groups, the results implied the control group’s physical activity level decreased compared with the intervention groups at 2-year follow-up.

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Katie A. Conway and Jason R. Franz

The authors elucidated functional limitations in older adult gait by increasing horizontal impeding forces and walking speed to their maximums compared with dynamometry and with data from their young counterparts. Specifically, the authors investigated which determinants of push-off intensity represent genuine functionally limiting impairments in older adult gait versus biomechanical changes that do not directly limit walking performance. They found that older adults walked at their preferred speed with hallmark deficits in push-off intensity. These subjects were fully capable of overcoming deficits in propulsive ground reaction force, trailing limb positive work, trailing leg and hip extension, and ankle power generation when the propulsive demands of walking were increased to maximum. Of the outcomes tested, age-related deficits in ankle moment emerged as the lone genuine functionally limiting impairment in older adults. Distinguishing genuine functional limitations from age-related differences masquerading as limitations represents a critical step toward the development and prescription of effective interventions.

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Youngdeok Kim, Joaquin U. Gonzales and P. Hemachandra Reddy

The purpose of this study was to examine short-term longitudinal relationships between handgrip strength (HGS) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) biomarkers in middle-aged to older adults living in rural areas (N = 138). The association between HGS and CVD biomarkers was examined at baseline, with HGS as a predictor of the annual change in biomarkers, and in a parallel fashion between the annual change in HGS and CVD biomarkers over an average of 2.8 follow-up years. The results showed HGS to cross-sectionally associate with waist circumference and diastolic blood pressure at baseline, but HGS at baseline was not found to predict the annual change in any biomarker. The annual increase in HGS was significantly associated with favorable changes in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and systolic/diastolic blood pressures; yet, these associations varied by the baseline levels of biomarkers. The present findings suggest that improved muscle strength with aging is related to favorable changes in CVD biomarkers.

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Annette J. Raynor, Fiona Iredale, Robert Crowther, Jane White and Julie Dare

Regular physical activity has multiple benefits for older adults, including improved physical, cognitive, and psychosocial health. This exploratory study investigated the benefits of a 12-week exercise program for older adults (n = 11 control and n = 13 intervention) living in a residential aged care facility in Perth, Western Australia. The program, prescribed and delivered by an accredited exercise physiologist, aimed to maintain or improve participants’ physical capacity. It comprised one-on-one exercise sessions (1 hr × 2 days/week × 12 weeks), involving a components-approach intervention. Physical performance measures (balance, strength, flexibility, and mobility) were assessed preintervention and postintervention. Qualitative interviews postintervention with residents participating in the exercise intervention, and with family members, staff, and research team members, explored barriers and enablers to participation and perceived psychosocial outcomes. Findings indicate the program provided physical benefits and enhanced social engagement for participants, illustrating the value of providing exercise physiology services in the aged care sector.

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Bente M. Raafs, Esther G.A. Karssemeijer, Lizzy Van der Horst, Justine A. Aaronson, Marcel G.M. Olde Rikkert and Roy P.C. Kessels

The current meta-analysis first aimed to quantify the overall effect of physical exercise training on the quality of life (QoL) in healthy older adults. Second, the effects on the social, physical, and psychological QoL were assessed. In total, 16 randomized controlled trials were included. The primary analysis showed a medium effect of physical exercise training on QoL in healthy older adults (standard mean difference [SMD] = 0.38, confidence interval, CI, [0.18, 0.59], p < .05). The secondary analyses showed a positive medium effect of physical exercise training on the physical component of QoL (SMD = 0.39, CI [0.17, 0.60], p < .05), and a positive medium effect of physical exercise training on the psychological component of QoL (SMD = 0.348, CI [0.125, 0.570], p < .05), and no significant effect of physical exercise training on the social component of QoL was observed (SMD = 0.16, CI [−0.07, 0.38], p = .17). These findings warrant implementation efforts pertaining to exercise training for older adults to improve the QoL in our aging societies.

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Judith Godin, Joanna M. Blodgett, Kenneth Rockwood and Olga Theou

The authors sought to examine how much sedentary time needs to be replaced by light or moderate–vigorous physical activity in order to reduce frailty and protect against mortality. The authors built isotemporal substitution models to assess the theoretical effect of replacing sedentary behavior with an equal amount of light or moderate–vigorous activity on frailty and mortality in community-based adults aged 50 years and older. Controlling for age, sex, body mass index, marital status, race, education, employment status, and National Health and Nutrition Examination Study cycle, replacing 1 hr of sedentary time with moderate–vigorous or light physical activity daily was associated with a lower frailty index. For mortality, results varied based on frailty level. Replacing sedentary behavior with moderate–vigorous exercise was associated with lower mortality risk in vulnerable individuals; however, replacing sedentary behavior with light activity was associated with lower mortality risk in frailer individuals.

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Liane S. Lewis, Barnabas Shaw, Srijit Banerjee, Pryscilla Dieguez, James Hernon, Nigel Belshaw and John M. Saxton

This nonblinded randomized controlled trial investigated the efficacy of a physical activity (PA) intervention underpinned by self-determination theory. Participants (N = 31, mean age 69 years [SD = 4.9]) diagnosed with bowel polyps were randomized to an active lifestyle program (ALP; n = 17) or standard care (n = 14). ALP received supervised exercise and counseling for 6 months. Both groups were followed up at 12 months. Outcomes were change in PA and behavioral regulation. Data were analyzed with intention to treat. At 6 months, differences were observed for behavioral regulation in favor of ALP (p < .05). PA differences were significant for leisure, walking, and vigorous in favor of ALP (p < .05). The self-determination theory can be an effective strategy for promoting PA behavior change in this population, but a larger trial is needed to further explore the utility of the self-determination theory in this context.