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Catrine Tudor-Locke, Tiago V. Barreira, Robert M. Brouillette, Heather C. Foil and Jeffrey N. Keller

Background:

The relationship between clinically assessed and free-living walking is unclear. Cadence (steps/min) can be measured accurately under both conditions using modern technologies, thus providing a common measurement metric. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare clinical and free-living cadence in older adults.

Methods:

15 community-dwelling older adults (7 men, 8 women; 61–81 years) completed GAITRite-determined normal and dual-task walks and wore objective monitors for 1 week. Descriptive data included gait speed (cm/sec), steps/day, as well as cadence. Nonparametric tests evaluated differences between normal and dual-task walks and between accelerometer- and pedometer-determined steps/day. Free-living time detected above clinically determined cadence was calculated.

Results:

Participants crossed the GAITRite at 125.56 ± 15.51 cm/sec (men) and 107.93 ± 9.41 steps/min (women) during their normal walk and at 112.59 ± 17.90 cm/sec and 103.10 ± 1.30 steps/min during their dual-task walk (differences between walks P < .05). Overall, they averaged 7159 ± 2480 (accelerometer) and 7813 ± 2919 steps/day (pedometer; difference NS). On average, < 10 min/day was spent above clinically determined cadences.

Conclusions:

High-functioning, community-dwelling older adults are capable of walking at relatively high cadences (ie, > 100 steps/min). However, the same behavior appears to be uncommon in daily life, even for a minute.

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Marissa E. Mendelsohn, Denise M. Connelly, Tom J. Overend and Robert J. Petrella

Although popular in clinical settings, little is known about the utility of all-extremity semirecumbent exercise machines for research. Twenty-one community-dwelling older adults performed two exercise trials (three 4-min stages at increasing workloads) to evaluate the reliability and validity of exercise responses to submaximal all-extremity semirecumbent exercise (BioStep). Exercise responses were measured directly (Cosmed K4b2) and indirectly through software on the BioStep. Test–retest reliability (ICC2,1) was moderate to high across all three stages for directly measured METs (.92, .87, and .88) and HR (.91, .83, and .86). Concurrent criterion validity between the K4b2 and BioStep MET values was moderate to very good across the three stages on both Day 1 (r = .86, .71, and .83) and Day 2 (r = .73, .87, and .72). All-extremity semirecumbent submaximal exercise elicited reliable and valid responses in our sample of older adults and thus can be considered a viable exercise mode.

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Kenneth E. Mobily and Paula R. Mobily

The primary purpose of this investigation was to determine the internal consistency of the 60+ functional fitness test battery for older adults. A secondary purpose was to determine whether the number of trials recommended in the testing manual was optimal. Subjects were used from an ongoing study of a fitness program for community-dwelling older adults. Internal consistency coefficients for subtests of flexibility, agility, coordination, and strength were excellent. Post hoc analysis across trials indicated significant differences in means between early trials and later trials. Mean scores stabilized after two or three trials, depending on the subtest of interest. Data provided insight into the number of practice trials and amount of warm-up necessary to implement the 60+ functional fitness test battery in field settings.

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Ronald D. Adelman, Michele G. Greene, Erika Friedmann, Marcia G. Ory and Caitlin E. Snow

This cross-sectional observational study examined the frequency of older patient–physician discussions about exercise, who initiates discussions, and the quality of questioning, informing, and support about exercise. The study used a convenience sample of 396 follow-up visits at 3 community-based practice sites, with 376 community-dwelling older patients and 43 primary-care physicians. Audiotapes were analyzed using the Multi-Dimensional Interaction Analysis coding system. Results demonstrate that exercise was discussed in 13% of visits and the subject was raised equally by patients and physicians. Exercise was significantly more likely to be discussed in dyadic visits (14.7%) than in triadic visits (4.1%). Patient level of education, patient overall physical health, and the physician’s being female were significant predictors of the occurrence of exercise discussion. Given the importance of exercise for maintaining health and independence in older adults, more clinical and research attention is needed to address barriers to effective discussions in this area.

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Tamar Semerjian and Dawn Stephens

This study examined the relationships between older women’s comparison styles, physical self-perceptions, and functional fitness. Participants were community-dwelling women (N = 102, age 65-99) living in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Individuals were categorized as relying primarily on social comparisons, temporal comparisons, or a combination of both styles. Also of interest was whether individuals evaluated themselves positively or negatively when making comparisons. Participants who evaluated themselves positively as compared with others were found to have higher levels of physical self-perception. Analyses revealed that women who relied primarily on temporal comparisons had higher self-perceptions of their functional ability than those who relied on a combination of comparison styles. An avoidance of both temporal and social comparisons was also related to higher levels of physical self-perception.

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Simone Nicolai, Petra Benzinger, Dawn A. Skelton, Kamiar Aminian, Clemens Becker and Ulrich Lindemann

The purpose of the study was to investigate whether a 24-hr recording period is sufficient to describe physical activity (PA) of 1 week for intraindividual comparison in older adults. Furthermore, the authors analyzed whether physical performance can be used as a surrogate marker of PA. PA was captured on 7 consecutive days by a body-fixed sensor in 44 community-dwelling older adults (80.75 ± 4.05 yr). Mean times of walking and of “time on feet” of the group were 10.2 hr (± 3.5) and 35.1 hr (± 9.43), respectively. Intraindividual variabilities of walking and of time on feet were 31.9% ± 10.79% and 19.4% ± 8.76%, respectively. Accumulated time of variables of PA showed no differences between weekdays, with variabilities of 3.8% and 1.8% for walking and time on feet, respectively. Association between Short Physical Performance Battery and PA was limited (walking r = .397, time on feet r = .41).

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David Alexander Leaf and Holden MacRae

The purpose of this study was to examine the criterion-related validity of two indirect measures of energy expenditure (EE): American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) predictive equations, and estimated EE based on the Caltrac accelerometer. These measures were compared in 20 community-dwelling older men and women (mean age 71 years). The strength of the relationships among major determinants of EE during self-selected speeds of treadmill and outdoor walking was also examined. EE measured by respiratory gas analysis during an exercise stress test was highly correlated with ACSM predictive equations and poorly correlated with Caltrac. Multivariate regression equations were established to evaluate the ability of independent variables—body weight and height, age, and preferred treadmill walking speed—to predict EE (dependent variable). It was concluded that the ACSM predictive equations are suitable for use in elderly individuals, and that the apparent differences in the relationships between treadmill and outdoor walking speeds on EE deserve further investigation.

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Joe R. Nocera, Keith M. McGregor, Chris J. Hass and Bruce Crosson

Studies suggest improvements of neurocognitive function among older adults who undergo aerobic exercise training. This study sought to examine the impact of an aerobic exercise intervention on verbal fluency in sedentary older adults. Twenty community-dwelling older adults were recruited and enrolled in either a spin exercise group or a control condition. Participants were evaluated with an estimated V02max test and on measures of letter, category, and switching verbal fluency both before and after a 12-week intervention period. Spin exercise resulted in a significant improvement in category (semantic) verbal fluency when compared with the control group (15% vs. 2% increase, respectively; P = .001). Spin exercise also resulted in a significant improvement in estimated V02max (P = .005). Also important, the spin exercise group demonstrated a high level of adherence (mean adherence = 82.5%). Spin exercise can be an effective mode of aerobic exercise to improve semantic fluency in previously sedentary older adults.

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Maarten Stiggelbout, Marijke Hopman-Rock and Willem van Mechelen

This study reports entry correlates and motivations of older adults participating in organized exercise programs in the Netherlands, as determined in a descriptive explorative study (N = 2,350, response rate 86%). Participants were community-dwelling older adults (50+ years) who enrolled and started in 10 different exercise programs. Entry features were analyzed for differences in age, sex, marital status, education, living situation, body-mass index, lifestyle, and health status. Motivations for entering an exercise program were determined using homogeneity analyses. More Exercise for Seniors (MBvO) attracted relatively older seniors, whereas organized sports mainly attracted younger ones. Walking, MBvO, and gymnastics attracted more women, whereas skating and table tennis were reported to attract more male participants. Badminton and cycling attracted relatively higher educated participants, whereas MBvO attracted relatively lower educated participants. Three distinct motivational constructs were found: relax and enjoy, care and cure, and competition. Public health and recruitment implications of these findings are discussed.

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Jack M. Guralnik, Suzanne Leveille, Stefano Volpato, Marcia S. Marx and Jiska Cohen-Mansfield

Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that, using objective performance measures of physical functioning, disability risk can be predicted in nondisabled older adults. This makes it possible to recruit a nondisabled but at-risk population for clinical trials of disability prevention. Successful disability prevention in this population, for example through an exercise program, would have a major public health impact. To enhance the development of exercise interventions in this group it would be valuable to have additional information not available from existing epidemiologic studies. This report examines the evidence that functional limitations preceding disability can be identified in a community-dwelling population and that it is feasible to recruit these people into studies. It introduces a series of articles examining the characteristics of this population: motivators and barriers to exercise, exercise habits and preferences, the impact of positive and negative affect, and the impact of pain and functional limitations on attitudes toward exercise.