Sports Medicine

, Volume 38, Issue 9, pp 781–793

The Functional Effects of Physical Exercise Training in Frail Older People

A Systematic Review

Authors

  • Marijke J. M. Chin A. Paw
  • Chin A
  • Jannique G. Z. van Uffelen
    • Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO InstituteVU University Medical Center
    • Body@Work, Research Center Physical Activity, Work and HealthTNO-VU University Medical Center
  • Ingrid Riphagen
    • VU University Library, Medical Library, Vrije University
  • Willem van Mechelen
    • Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO InstituteVU University Medical Center
    • Body@Work, Research Center Physical Activity, Work and HealthTNO-VU University Medical Center
Review Article

DOI: 10.2165/00007256-200838090-00006

Cite this article as:
Paw, M.J.M.C.A., A, C., van Uffelen, J.G.Z. et al. sports med (2008) 38: 781. doi:10.2165/00007256-200838090-00006

Abstract

This systematic review describes the effect of exercise training on physical performance in frail older people. Randomized controlled trials were identified from searches in PubMed, EMBASE and CENTRAL from January 1995 through August 2007. Two reviewers independently screened the trials for eligibility, rated their quality, and extracted data. Randomized controlled trials that examined the effects on performance-based measures of physical function among frail older adults were included. The systematic search identified 20 studies, examining 23 different exercise programmes. The methodological quality score (0–9) of the trials ranged from 2 to 7 points. Sixteen of the studies were scored as high quality. There was a large variety in the studies concerning sample size, degree of frailty, types of interventions and types of assessments. The majority of the programmes were facility-based, group-exercise programmes that were performed three times a week for 45–60 minutes. The intervention programmes comprised resistance training (n = 9), Tai Chi training (n = 2), or multi-component training (n = 12). Six of the total selected 20 studies did not find a beneficial exercise effect on functional performance. This systematic review suggests that older adults with different levels of abilities can improve their functional performance by regular exercise training. To determine the most appropriate design of the exercise programme (type, intensity, frequency and duration of exercise) for functional improvement or prevention of loss of function, more high-quality trials are needed in which different training protocols are compared.

Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2008