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Mark G. Davis, Kenneth R. Fox, Afroditi Stathi, Tanya Trayers, Janice L. Thompson and Ashley R. Cooper

The relationship of objectively measured sedentary time (ST), frequency of breaks in ST, and lower extremity function (LEF) was investigated in a diverse sample aged ≥ 70 years (n = 217). Physical activity (PA) was assessed by accelerometry deriving moderate-vigorous PA (MVPA) minutes per registered hour (MVPA min · hr−1), registered ST (ST min · hr−1), and breaks in ST min · hr−1 (breaks · hr−1). LEF was assessed by the Short Physical Performance Battery. Univariate associations with overall LEF were MVPA (r = .523), ST (r = −.499), and breaks (r = .389). Adjusted linear regression including MVPA min · hr−1, ST min · hr−1, and breaks · hr−1 explained 41.5% of LEF variance. Each additional break · hr−1 was associated with 0.58 point increase in LEF. Breaks and MVPA had strongest independent associations with LEF. Promoting regular breaks might be useful in maintaining or increasing LEF and later life independence. This novel finding is important for the design of effective lifestyle interventions targeting older adults.

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Anna Mulasso, Mattia Roppolo, Monica Emma Liubicich, Michele Settanni and Emanuela Rabaglietti

The aim of this study was to assess the direct and indirect effects of a multicomponent exercise (MCE) program on mobility and balance in institutionalized older people. One hundred and twelve subjects (85 women; 83.0 years on average; SD = 7.5) were included in the study, and divided into a MCE-group (MCE-G) and a control group (CG) according to matching techniques. The MCE-G consisted of a 9-month program featuring range-of-motion, strength, and balance exercises performed in small groups. The CG received routine medical and nursing care. The timed up-and-go test and Tinetti Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment balance subscale were administered at baseline and postintervention. After controlling for physical baseline value, age, sex, residential care facilities, and body mass index, the MCE-G showed positive effects both on mobility (p < .001) and balance (p = .001). The role of balance as mediator in the relationship between participation to the MCE program and mobility was demonstrated.

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Trudy L. Moore-Harrison, Mary Ann Johnson, Mary Ellen Quinn and M. Elaine Cress

Background:

This study examined the feasibility of implementing the EnhanceFitness Program (formerly Lifetime Fitness Program), an evidence-based exercise program, at congregate-meal sites that generally serve low-income older adults.

Methods:

A 12-week aerobic and strength training exercise program was held at senior centers 3 times a week.

Results:

The mean age of the 31 participants was 73.5 years ± 6.7 years (60–86). Participants’ compliance with attending the exercise class was 74%. Paired t tests were used to evaluate change after the intervention. Three out of six components of the Senior Fitness Test increased significantly after the exercise intervention (P < .003). Three out of the eight self-reported health concepts of the SF-36 demonstrated significant improvement after the exercise intervention (P < .003).

Conclusion:

These data indicate that an evidence-based exercise program can be successfully implemented in this population.

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Marja H. Westhoff, Lysander Stemmerik and Hendriek C. Boshuizen

This study’s purpose was to investigate whether a 10-week low-intensity strength-training program could improve strength of the knee extensors and functional ability. Participants 65 years and older with low knee-extensor muscle strength were randomized into an exercise (n = 11) and a control group (n = 10). Knee-extensor strength and functional ability were measured before and after the program and again 6 months later. Knee-extensor strength (Nm) increased by 54% (13% in the control) by the end of the training program (F = 13.02, p = .01), and most of this improvement was still present 6 months later. The program had a beneficial effect on functional tasks, especially the time taken to rise from a chair in combination with a 3-m walk (F = 3.99, p = .03) and self-reported ability related to lower extremity performance (F = 6.97, p = .02). It seems that this program could contribute to improving functional ability in frail older people.

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Bianca Fernandes, Fabio Augusto Barbieri, Fernanda Zane Arthuso, Fabiana Araújo Silva, Gabriel Felipe Moretto, Luis Felipe Itikawa Imaizumi, Awassi Yophiwa Ngomane, Guilherme Veiga Guimarães and Emmanuel Gomes Ciolac

Purpose: To investigate the effect of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) versus moderate-intensity continuous exercise training (MICE) on hemodynamic and functional variables in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Methods: Twenty participants (13 men) were randomly assigned to a thrice-weekly HIIT (n = 12) or MICE (n = 8) for 12 weeks. Hemodynamic (resting heart rate and blood pressure, carotid femoral pulse wave velocity, endothelial reactivity, and heart rate variability) and functional variables (5-time sit-to-stand, timed up and go, and 6-min walking tests) assessed before and after training. Results: Demographic, hemodynamic and functional variables were similar between groups at baseline. Endothelial reactivity tended to increase after HIIT, but not after MICE, resulting in improved level (∼8%, P < .01) of this variable in HIIT versus MICE during follow-up. Six-minute walking test improved after HIIT (10.4 ± 3.8%, P < .05), but did not change after MICE. Sit to stand improved similarly after HIIT (27.2 ± 6.1%, P < .05) and MICE (21.5 ± 5.4%, P < .05). No significant changes were found after HIIT or MICE in any other variable assessed. Conclusion: These results suggest that exercise intensity may influence training-induced adaptation on endothelial reactivity and aerobic capacity in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

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Kaitlyn P. Roland, Jennifer M. Jakobi and Gareth R. Jones

Interest in yoga is growing, especially among older adults. This review critically summarizes the current literature to investigate whether physical fitness and function benefits are engendered through the practice of yoga in older adults. A comprehensive search yielded 507 studies; 10 studies with 544 participants (69.6 ± 6.3 yr, 71% female) were included. Large variability in yoga styles and measurement outcomes make it challenging to interpret results across studies. Studies reported moderate improvements for gait (ES = 0.54, 0.80), balance (ES = 0.25–1.61), upper/lower body flexibility (ES = 0.25, 0.70), lower body strength (ES = 0.51), and weight loss (ES = 0.73, 0.99). Yoga may engender improvements in some components of fitness in older adults. However, more evidence is needed to determine its effectiveness as an alternative exercise to promote fitness in older adults. Further investigation into yoga as an exercise activity for older adults is warranted.

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Kristin Musselman and Brenda Brouwer

This study examined gender differences in balance, gait, and muscle performance in seniors and identified gender-specific factors contributing to physical performance. Forty (20 men, 20 women) healthy, community-dwelling seniors (74.5 ± 5.3 years) participated. Limits of stability, gait speed, lower limb flexor and extensor isokinetic concentric peak torques, self-reported activity level, and balance confidence were measured. No gender differences were detected in gait speed, limits of stability when normalized to height, activity level, or balance confidence (p ≥ .188). Women were weaker than men (p ≤ .007), even after controlling for weight and body-mass index, suggesting that other gender-related factors contribute to strength. Gender accounted for 18–46% of the variance in strength and served as a modifier of the relationship between activity level and strength in some muscle groups. The primary factors relating to gender-specific strength was activity level in men and body weight in women.

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Danielle R. Bouchard, K. Ashlee McGuire, Lance Davidson and Robert Ross

One hundred forty-six abdominally obese adults age 60–80 yr were studied to investigate the interaction between cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and obesity on functional limitation. Obesity was determined by fat mass (FM), CRF was determined by a maximal treadmill test, and functional limitation was based on 4 different tasks that are predictive of subsequent disability. Both FM (r = –.34, p ≤ .01) and CRF (r = .54, p ≤ .01) were independently associated with functional limitation in bivariate analysis. After further control for sex, age, and the interaction term (CRF × FM), FM was no longer independently associated with functional limitation (p = .10). Analyses were also based on sex-specific tertiles of FM and CRF. The referent group demonstrated significantly lower functional limitation than the low-CRF/low-FM and the low-CRF/high-FM groups (both p ≤ .05). These results highlight the value of recommending exercise for abdominally obese adults.

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Louise L. Hardy, Ding Ding, Louisa R. Peralta, Seema Mihrshahi and Dafna Merom

Background: To examine the associations between school-age children’s sedentary behavior, screen time, and 3 physical activity attributes: muscular strength, cardiorespiratory endurance (CRE), and fundamental movement skills. Methods: Cross-sectional survey of 2734 children in years 2 and 4 and 3671 adolescents in years 6, 8, and 10. Total sitting time, 6 screen time behaviors, and physical activity were measured by self-report. Muscular strength was assessed by standing broad jump; CRE by 20-m shuttle run test; and fundamental movement skills by process-oriented checklists. Associations between incremental sitting and screen time (in hours) and meeting the healthy zone of physical activity attributes were examined using logistic regression. Results: After adjusting for covariates and physical activity, children had lower odds of achieving the healthy zone for muscular strength and CRE for each hour of week (but not weekend) screen time. For adolescents, each hour of screen time per day was associated with lower odds of achieving the healthy fitness zone for CRE, locomotor skills, and overall healthy zone, and each hour of weekend screen time was associated with lower odds of achieving the healthy zone for most attributes and overall healthy zone. The associations were slightly stronger among adolescent girls than boys. The findings were similar for total sitting time. Conclusions: Screen time was associated with a lower likelihood to achieve healthy zones of physical activity attributes, and the effect was more consistent and slightly stronger among adolescents than children. This may suggest that the negative effects of screen time are incremental, emerging during adolescence.

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Stephen Harvey, Chris Rissel and Mirjam Pijnappels

Falls among older adults remain a significant public health issue. Bicycling positively influences falls risk factors including reduced balance, muscle weakness, and low self-perceived confidence in maintaining balance. However, this association has not been systematically examined. We recruited 107 community-dwelling participants aged 65 years and older in the Netherlands to determine the relationship between bicycling and falls risk factors. Participants completed three questionnaires on cycling behavior and balance confidence, and also undertook five falls-related physical performance tasks encompassing tests of balance, strength, gait, and endurance. On average, current bicyclists showed significantly better scores in all physical tasks and confidence compared with nonriders ranging from a 10% difference in 6-m walk time to a 141% difference in single-leg balance time (all ps = .01). Type of bike used and duration of bicycling displayed varied associations (.01 < ps < .79). Our findings suggest that bicycle riding warrants further prospective investigation for fall prevention and active aging.