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Wonjae Choi and Seungwon Lee

Deterioration of physical and psychological health is an important issue in older adults aged 65 years or more. This study aimed to determine whether a virtual kayak paddling (VKP) exercise could improve postural balance, muscle performance, and cognitive function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Sixty participants were randomly assigned to the VKP (n = 30) or control group (n = 30). Participants in the VKP group performed the paddling exercise in a virtual environment for 60 min twice a week for 6 weeks, whereas those in the control group performed home exercises. Postural balance (p < .05), muscle performance (p < .05), and cognitive function (p < .05) were significantly improved in the VKP group and were superior to those in the control group (p < .05). Thus, the findings indicate that VKP exercise improves postural balance, muscle performance, and cognitive function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.

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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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Inès Boukabous, Alexis Marcotte-Chénard, Taha Amamou, Pierre Boulay, Martin Brochu, Daniel Tessier, Isabelle Dionne and Eléonor Riesco

Objectives: To compare the effect of low-volume high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) on fat mass, cardiometabolic profile, and physical capacity, and confirm its feasibility in older women. Methods: Inactive older women (60–75 years) were randomly assigned to 8 weeks of either HIIT (75 min/week; n = 9) or MICT (150 min/week; n = 9). Body composition, fasting metabolic profile, cardiovascular risk (Framingham score), and physical capacity (senior fitness test, peak oxygen uptake) were assessed before and after the intervention. Feasibility was evaluated with completion rate (training compliance; dropout rate) and affective response (Feeling Scale; pre- and postexercise). Results: Total cholesterol level, non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, and the Framingham risk score decreased in both groups (ps ≤ .03). Although peak oxygen uptake remained unchanged, the 6-min walk test distance increased (p < .0001), irrespective of the group. Completion rate and affective responses were not different between groups (ps ≥ .38). Conclusion: A short-term HIIT program is feasible and provides as much benefits as MICT in older women.

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Odessa Addison, Monica C. Serra, Leslie Katzel, Jamie Giffuni, Cathy C. Lee, Steven Castle, Willy M. Valencia, Teresa Kopp, Heather Cammarata, Michelle McDonald, Kris A. Oursler, Chani Jain, Janet Prvu Bettger, Megan Pearson, Kenneth M. Manning, Orna Intrator, Peter Veazie, Richard Sloane, Jiejin Li and Miriam C. Morey

Veterans represent a unique population of older adults, as they are more likely to self-report a disability and be overweight or obese compared with the general population. We sought to compare changes in mobility function across the obesity spectrum in older veterans participating in 6 months of Gerofit, a clinical exercise program. A total of 270 veterans (mean age: 74 years) completed baseline, 3-, and 6-month mobility assessments and were divided post hoc into groups: normal weight, overweight, and obese. The mobility assessments included 10-m walk time, 6-min walk distance, 30-s chair stands, and 8-foot up-and-go time. No significant weight × time interactions were found for any measure. However, clinically significant improvements of 7–20% were found for all mobility measures from baseline to 3 months and maintained at 6 months (all ps < .05). Six months of participation in Gerofit, if enacted nationwide, appears to be one way to improve mobility in older veterans at high risk for disability, regardless of weight status.

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Tom Clifford

Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) manifests as muscle soreness, inflammation, and reductions in force generating capacity that can last for several days after exercise. The ability to recover and repair damaged tissues following EIMD is impaired with age, with older adults (≥50 years old) experiencing a slower rate of recovery than their younger counterparts do for the equivalent exercise bout. This narrative review discusses the literature examining the effect of nutritional or pharmacological supplements taken to counter the potentially debilitating effects of EIMD in older adults. Studies have assessed the effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, vitamin C and/or E, or higher protein diets on recovery in older adults. Each intervention showed some promise for attenuating EIMD, but, overall, there is a paucity of available data in this population, and more studies are required to determine the influence of nutrition or pharmacological interventions on EIMD in older adults.

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Jieling Chen, Emily Joy Nicklett, Yaping He and Vivian W.Q. Lou

The study aims to characterize physical activity (PA) participation by intensity and examine the biopsychosocial correlates among middle-aged and older adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD) in China. Data were examined from the 2011 China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study. The percentages of participation in vigorous, moderate, and light activity among participants with CKD were 22.7%, 42.1%, and 76.3%, respectively. The participants were less likely to engage in vigorous and moderate PA if they were 70 years of age or older, were not married/partnered, were unemployed, lived in urban areas, had an advanced stage of disease, had heart disease, and/or experienced mobility limitations. The magnitude of the associations between biophysical factors and PA participation was small for light PA. The higher the intensity of regular PA, the less likely older adults with CKD were to participate. Practitioners could consider the psychosocial characteristics of the older adults with CKD and facilitate their participation in PA.