The Assessment of Daily Activity Performance (ADAP) test has been developed to measure the physical capacity of older adults to carry out instrumental activities of daily living (ADL). The present study explores the option to create a less time-consuming short version of the ADAP that can be completed in the individual’s home environment and that imposes less of a physical burden. Data from 141 independently living women aged 70 and older were analyzed using principal components analysis (PCA). PCA identified two factors, on which 10 of the original 21 items had loaded sufficiently to be eligible for inclusion in a short version. The ADAP short version is considerably shorter than the original test and provides a good representation of the constructs being measured. More research is necessary to develop a short version of the ADAP that is easily applicable in the home environment of older adults.
Erwin Huiszoon, Paul L. de Vreede, Inge Bramsen, Chris H.Z. Kuiper and Harald S. Miedema
Dahn Shaulis, Lawrence A. Golding and Richard D. Tandy
The primary purpose of this paper, one of the first physiological studies of Senior Olympic athletes, was to determine the physical fitness level of Senior Olympic participants 50 to 86 years of age. It was hypothesized that Senior Olympic athletes would be more physically fit than healthy older adults not classified as Senior Olympic athletes. The athletes’ screening questionnaire (PAR-Q) results showed a 43% positive rate, making maximal testing and underwater testing impractical and possibly unsafe. However, all subjects were allowed to perform the AAHPERD functional fitness test battery. Senior Olympic athletes did not perform better (p < .05) on any of the AAHPERD functional fitness tests than a group of nonathletes who lived independently. Furthermore, questionnaire results suggested that some athletes were competing with little or no training. These results indicated that researchers and events managers should not assume that all Senior Olympic athletes are exceptionally healthy or physically fit.
Roger Ramsbottom, Anne Ambler, Janie Potter, Barbara Jordan, Alan Nevill and Carol Williams
Where strength training has been used in conjunction with functional-task training in older people, not only have there been improvements in leg strength but also improved function has been measured (e.g., Skelton & McLaughlin, 1996). Many studies use participants from care homes rather than community dwellers. We investigated changes in leg power, balance, and functional mobility in community-dwelling sedentary men and women over 70 years of age (n = 6 for training group [TR]; n = 10 for control group [CN]). Progressive training took place over 24 weeks using seated and nonseated exercise. For TR, leg power increased 40%, from 108 ± 40 to 141 ± 53 W (p < .01); dynamic balance increased 48%, from 22.3 ± 7.9 to 33.1 ± 6.1 cm (p < .01; functional reach); and functional mobility increased 12%, from 7.46 ± 1.32 to 6.54 ± 1.41 s (p < .05; timed walk). CN showed no significant change. In conclusion, a community-based exercise program led to large improvements in leg-extensor power, dynamic balance, and functional mobility.
Yusuke Osawa, Yasumichi Arai, Yuko Oguma, Takumi Hirata, Yukiko Abe, Koichiro Azuma, Michiyo Takayama and Nobuyoshi Hirose
This study investigated the relationships between muscle echo intensity (EI), physical activity (PA), and functional mobility in 108 Japanese (88–92 years). We measured EI and muscle thickness (MT) at the midpoint of the anterior superior iliac spine and patella using B-mode ultrasound. Light and moderate-to-vigorous PA (LPA and MVPA) were assessed with a triaxial accelerometer. The timed up and go (TUG) test was used to measure for functional mobility. EI, but not MT, was significantly associated with both TUG scores (β = 0.17, p = .047) and MVPA (β = –0.31, p = .01) when adjusted by potential confounders. However, association between EI and TUG disappeared after adjusted for MVPA. Meanwhile, MVPA was significantly associated with TUG scores independent of EI (β = –0.35, p < .001). Although EI of anterior thigh muscles might be a weaker predictor of functional morbidity than MVPA, it is a noninvasive and practical approach for assessing muscle quality in the very old.
James D. Sessford, Mary Jung, Lawrence R. Brawley and Jennifer L. Forbes
Among older adults, preserving community mobility (CM) is important for maintaining independent living. We explored whether perceptions of the environment and self-efficacy for CM (SE-CM) would predict walking performance for tasks reflecting CM. We hypothesized that perceptions of the environment and SE-CM would be additive predictors of walking performance on tasks reflecting the complexity of CM. Independent living older adults (N = 60) aged 64-85 completed six complex walking tasks (CWTs), SE-CM, and the environmental analysis of mobility questionnaire (EAMQ). Multiple regression analyses indicated that for each CWT, the EAMQ scales predicted walking performance (range: model R2Adj. = .078 to .139, p < .04). However, when SE-CM was added to the models, it was the sole significant predictor (p < .05). Contrary to our hypotheses, SE-CM was the best predictor in the additive models. SE-CM may be more correspondent to walking tests and thus a more sensitive predictor of CM walking performance.
Milla Saajanaho, Anne Viljanen, Sanna Read, Merja Rantakokko, Li-Tang Tsai, Jaakko Kaprio, Marja Jylhä and Taina Rantanen
This study investigated the associations of personal goals with exercise activity, as well as the relationships between exercise-related and other personal goals, among older women. Both cross-sectional and longitudinal designs were used with a sample of 308 women ages 66–79 at baseline. Women who reported exercise-related personal goals were 4 times as likely to report high exercise activity at baseline than those who did not report exercise-related goals. Longitudinal results were parallel. Goals related to cultural activities, as well as to busying oneself around the home, coincided with exercise-related goals, whereas goals related to own and other people’s health and independent living lowered the odds of having exercise-related goals. Helping older adults to set realistic exercise-related goals that are compatible with their other life goals may yield an increase in their exercise activity, but this should be evaluated in a controlled trial.
Therese Brovold, Dawn A. Skelton, Hilde Sylliaas, Morten Mowe and Astrid Bergland
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship among health-related quality of life (HRQOL), physical fitness, and physical activity in older patients after recent discharge from hospital. One hundred fifteen independent-living older adults (ages 70–92 years) were included. HRQOL (Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short Form Health Survey), physical activity (Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly), and physical fitness (Senior Fitness Test) were measured 2–4 weeks after discharge. Higher levels of physical activity and physical fitness were correlated with higher self-reported HRQOL. Although cause and effect cannot be determined from this study, the results suggest that a particular focus on the value of physical activity and physical fitness while in hospital and when discharged from hospital may be important to encourage patients to actively preserve independence and HRQOL. It may be especially important to target those with lower levels of physical activity, poorer physical fitness, and multiple comorbidities.
Koen A.P.M. Lemmink, Kemper Han, Mathieu H.G. de Greef, Piet Rispens and Martin Stevens
Several items of the Groningen Fitness Test for the Elderly (GFE) were tested. The GFE tests were administered twice, with 1 week between sessions. The participants were 458 independently living adults >55 years of age. For most tests, there was reasonable agreement between sessions, indicating absolute objectivity and stability, but results on the block-transfer test revealed a learning effect. Mean scores on the balance-board and sit-and-reach tests showed significant improvement, whereas grip-strength results deteriorated significantly. All tests satisfied the criteria for relative reliability. In conclusion, absolute and relative reliability of the tests of the GFE were satisfactory. If multiple applications of the GFE are planned for the same group of participants, 1 or more practice trials should be executed for the block-transfer test to avoid a learning effect. A standard warm-up protocol is recommended for the sit-and-reach test. Participants should be strongly encouraged to give a maximum effort on the strength tests.
Mieke G. Wasner and James H. Rimmer
This study evaluated nontherapeutic exercise programs offered in senior living facilities (SLFs), which included nursing homes, licensed and nonlicensed continuing care retirement communities, and senior independent living apartments. Exercise programs were evaluated on five criteria: number of different classes offered, instructors’ employment titles, exercise setting, program staffing levels, and amount and type of exercise equipment. Data revealed that chair exercises were the most common form of exercise, followed by stretching and supervised walking. The majority of exercise leaders were employed full-time (60%) but did not have degrees in exercise science, physical education, nursing, or physical therapy. Programs were mainly offered in multipurpose rooms or in other areas such as dining rooms, hallways, or lounges. Less than 27% of the SLFs followed American College of Sports Medicine exercise guidelines. This study found little consistency in the type of exercise programs offered to older adults in SLFs. Future research should evaluate the effectiveness of exercise classes offered in these facilities.
Taina Rantanen and Eino Heikkinen
The aim of this study was to examine alterations in maximal isometric strength of multiple muscle groups over 5 years and to compare strength changes between individuals who maintained a high level of physical activity and others who did not. As a part of the Evergreen Project, 20 men and 59 women participated in at least one strength test at the age of 80 and again 5 years later. Men displayed no decrease in lean body mass over the follow-up. and the only significant strength decrease was in elbow flexion strength. In women, both lean body mass and muscle strength decreased significantly (except trunk extension strength). Overall, those men and women who were considered to have maintained a high level of activity retained their strength at a higher level than the more sedentary participants. Older people should be encouraged to continue physically demanding activities to maintain muscle strength at an adequate level for independent living.