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Older Adults Respond Well to Supervised Activity Training

Exercise program produces better results than classroom program in year-long trial

FRIDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Older, sedentary adults who participate in an active training program are more likely to adhere to an exercise regimen than those who participate in a classroom-based health education program, according to a report published in the November issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Roger A. Fielding, Ph.D., of Tufts University in Boston, and colleagues examined adherence to physical activity versus health education programs in the first year of the multi-center Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders Pilot (LIFE-P) study. Participants were between 70 and 89 years old, sedentary and at risk of disability. A total of 424 individuals were randomized into the two programs. Subjects in the physical activity cohort received supervised fitness training in a three-phased program that moved from center-based to home-based exercise. Subjects in the successful aging attention control program attended classes on nutrition, medication use, foot care and preventive medicine.

Adherence to moderate-intensity physical activity was greater in the physical activity group than in the health education group, a difference that was maintained throughout the 12-month trial. A majority of participants in the activity group (56 percent) were meeting the goal of 150 minutes of activity per week when the program reached the transition phase in which center-based and home-based activities were combined.

"The physical activity intervention employed in LIFE-P represents a feasible, sustainable program that can be implemented across multiple clinical sites for older individuals at risk for disability," the authors conclude.

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