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  • Author: Marcel G.M. Olde Rikkert x
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Kim T.J. Bongers, Yvonne Schoon, Maartje J. Graauwmans, Marlies E. Hoogsteen-Ossewaarde and Marcel G.M. Olde Rikkert

Self-management of mobility and fall risk might be possible if older adults could use a simple and safe self-test to measure their own mobility, balance, and fall risk at home. The aim of this study was to determine the safety, feasibility, and intraindividual reliability of the maximal step length (MSL), gait speed (GS), and chair test (CT) as potential self-tests for assessing mobility and fall risk. Fifty-six community-dwelling older adults performed MSL, GS, and CT at home once a week during a four-week period, wherein the feasibility, test-retest reliability, coefficients of variation, and linear mixed models with random effects of these three self-tests were determined. Forty-nine subjects (mean age 76.1 years [SD: 4.0], 19 females [42%]) completed the study without adverse effects. Compared with the other self-tests, MSL gave the most often (77.6%) valid measurement results and had the best intraclass correlation coefficients (0.95 [95% confidence interval: 0.91−0.97]). MSL and GS gave no significant training effect, whereas CT did show a significant training effect (p < .01). Community-dwelling older adults can perform MSL safely, correctly, and reliably, and GS safely and reliably. Further research is needed to study the responsiveness and beneficial effects of these self-tests on self-management of mobility and fall risk.

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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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Madelijn H. Oudegeest-Sander, Dick H.J. Thijssen, Paul Smits, Arie P.J. van Dijk, Marcel G.M. Olde Rikkert and Maria T.E. Hopman

It is currently unknown whether differences in physical fitness in older, nonexercising individuals affect cardiovascular risk profile and vascular function. To examine this, 40 healthy older individuals (age 69 ± 4 years) who were classified as nonexercising for the past 5-10 years were allocated to a lower physical fitness (LF; VO2max 20.7 ± 2.4 mlO2/min/kg) or higher physical fitness group (HF; VO2max 29.1 ± 2.8 mlO2/min/kg, p < .001). Cardiovascular risk profile was calculated using the Lifetime Risk Score (LRS). Vascular function was examined using the gold standard venous occlusion plethysmography to assess blood flow changes in response to intra-arterial infusion of acetylcholine, sodium nitroprusside, and L-NNMA. Daily life activity level of the HF group was higher compared with the LF group (p = .04). LRS was higher (p < .001) and blood flow ratio response to acetylcholine was lower (p = .04) in the LF group. This study shows that a higher physical fitness level is associated with better cardiovascular health and vascular function in nonexercising older individuals.