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Gina Bravo, Pierre Gauthier, Pierre-Michel Roy, Hélène Payette, Marie-France Dubois, Monique Harvey and Philippe Gaulin

A recently completed randomized controlled trial documented the effects of a 1-year group-based exercise program in osteopenic women. The present study concerns the comparison of these effects to those produced by a home-based exercise program tested on the same population. All 63 women who had been randomly assigned to the control group in the previous study were invited to enroll in the home program. Comparison of pre- and posttest scores of home exercisers revealed improvements in agility and well-being. In comparison, women who had participated 1 year earlier in the group-based exercise program had improved on four of the five fitness tests, well-being, and pain intensity. More women in the group-based exercise program showed improvement in self-rated health in comparison to those enrolled in the home program. Results suggest that for osteopenic women, a group-based exercise program is much more effective than a home-based exercise program.

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Gina Bravo, Pierre Gauthier, Pierre-Michel Roy, Daniel Tessier, Philippe Gaulin, Marie-France Dubois and Lucie Péloquin

A battery of field tests was recently developed to assess five fitness parameters in elderly persons. The present study examined the test-retest reliability of each item in the battery and tested the validity of the cardiorespiratory endurance item. Reliability and validity data were obtained from two convenience samples. The 29 subjects in the reliability study were community-living women enrolled in seniors’ exercise classes. The validity of the cardiorespiratory endurance item was tested by comparing it with maximal work capacity on a treadmill test. The 52 women in that part of the study were all participants in a study to assess the effect of weight-bearing exercises on women with low bone mass. Both samples were combined for a principal component analysis. Low reproducibility was observed for coordination (0.54) and strength/endurance (0.56). After slightly modifying the test protocol for these two items, reproducibility reached 84 and 94%, respectively. The correlation between the cardiorespiratory endurance score and maximal work capacity was −0.65, while that between the composite score and maximal work capacity was −0.64. Given these minor modifications, then, the Functional Fitness Assessment battery is a reliable and valid tool for assessing functional fitness in elderly women.