The purpose of this study was to determine whether a walking program supplemented by tasks designed to challenge balance and mobility (WALK+) could improve physical function more than a traditional walking program (WALK) in older adults at risk for mobility disability. 31 community-dwelling older adults (M ± SD age = 76 ± 5 yr; Short Physical Performance Battery [SPPB] score = 8.4 ± 1.7) were randomized to treatment. Both interventions were 18 sessions (1 hr, 3×/wk) and progressive in intensity and duration. Physical function was assessed using the SPPB and the 400-m-walk time. A subset of participants in the WALK group who had relatively lower baseline function showed only small improvement in their SPPB scores after the intervention (0.3 ± 0.5), whereas a subset of participants in the WALK+ group with low baseline function showed substantial improvement in their SPPB scores (2.2 ± 0.7). These preliminary data underscore the potential importance of tailoring interventions for older adults based on baseline levels of physical function.
Anthony P. Marsh, Elizabeth A. Chmelo, Jeffrey A. Katula, Shannon L. Mihalko and W. Jack Rejeski
Elizabeth Chmelo, Barbara Nicklas, Cralen Davis, Gary D. Miller, Claudine Legault and Stephen Messier
To assess correlates of physical activity, and to examine the relationship between physical activity and physical functioning, in 160 older (66 ± 6 years old), overweight/obese (mean body mass index = 33.5 ± 3.8 kg/m2), sedentary (less than 30 mins of activity, 3 days a week) individuals with knee osteoarthritis.
Physical activity was measured with accelerometers and by self-report. Physical function was assessed by 6-min walk distance, knee strength, and the Short Physical Performance Battery. Pain and perceived function were measured by questionnaires. Pearson correlations and general linear models were used to analyze the relationships.
The mean number of steps taken per day was 6209 and the average PAEE was 237 ± 124 kcal/day. Participants engaged in 131 ± 39 minutes of light physical activity (LPA) and 10.6 ± 8.9 minutes of moderate-vigorous physical activity (MPA/VPA). Total steps/day, PAEE, and minutes of MPA/VPA were all negatively correlated with age. The 6-min walk distance and lower extremity function were better in those who had higher total steps/day, higher PAEE, higher minutes of MPA/VPA, and a higher PASE score.
This study demonstrates that a population who has higher levels of spontaneous activity have better overall physical function than those who engage in less activity.