Aerobic training to abate functional dependency
Moore, Trudy Latrice
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With longevity steadily increasing, researchers are focusing on quality as well as quantity of life. Functional assessment is an important outcome for determining the effectiveness of interventions for improving quality of life in older adults. The purpose of the first study was to examine disability and the relationships of some commonly used physical function measures with established benchmarks for identifying risk of disability. Twenty-six older adults were assessed using the Continuous Scale Physical Functional Performance 10 item test (CS-PFP 10), Physical Performance Test, Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), and the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form Health Survey Physical Function subscale (SF36PF). Eighty-eight percent of the participants were at risk for preclinical disability of which 50% were at risk for moderate disability. The performance-based physical function measures were correlated (p<0.05) with each other, however the SF36PF was only correlated with the CS-PFP 10 (p<0.05). Participant’s preclinical disability status was identified by a mis-match between self-report and performance-based function, where self-report was greater than performance-based. These individuals could benefit from physical activity programs to improve physical function. Older adults, with low socioeconomic status and low physical reserves are at disproportional higher risk for chronic disease burden, functional limitations and disability. Physical activity is an effective nonpharmacological intervention for improving physiological capacity, quality of life, and physical function. The purpose of the second study was to investigate the effects of a walking intervention and nutrition education intervention on functional performance with a randomized controlled trial of low socioeconomic older adults. Twenty-four volunteers were randomized into either a walking exercise group or a control group. The walking exercise group participated in a 16-week walking program and the control group attended nutrition education presentations. The walking exercise group improved in physical function by 25% as evaluated with the CS-PFP 10 and peak aerobic capacity by 18.9%. This study, one of few that include older adults with low socioeconomic status indicates that walking, a simple exercise that can be done without specialized exercise leader or equipment significantly increases peak aerobic capacity and physical function in just four months.