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Table 2 Description of studies included in the review

From: Effect of Low-intensity Exercise on Physical and Cognitive Health in Older Adults: a Systematic Review

Study Domain Design Sample Intervention Key outcomes Results
Dawe et al., 1995 [56] Cognitive health Pre-post test N = 20 Duration, 1 h Blood pressure = mmHg Intervention group = significantly increased pulse rate (from 69.2 to 71.2 beats/min) and blood pressure (from 140/75 to 145/73 mmHg) (p’s < 0.001)
Nursing home residents Intervention group = received the Canadian Red Cross Society’s Senior’s Fun and Fitness program. Pulse = beats/min
Cognitively unimpaired Three cognitive tests:
Male, 4; Female, 16 1. Set test = number of words correctly recalled; Control group = no differences in pulse rate (between 74.1 to 74.7 beats/min), blood pressure (from 137/74 to 136/72 mmHg), and three cognitive tests (p’s > 0.05).
Intervention group (n = 10) Control group = viewed a 15-min video of low-intensity exercise program
Mean age: 83.9 2. Word fluency test = number of words correctly recalled;
Control group (n = 10) Between groups, intervention group = showed a better cognitive performance (i.e., improved recall ability in the Set test (40 words to 46 words) than the control group (43 words to 44 words) (p < 0.05))
Mean age = 85.1 Overall intervention compliance = no information 3. Symbol digit test = number of corrected digit encoding
Means et al., 1996 [61] Physical health Pre-post test N = 65 Duration, 6 weeks Performance score (0 = poorest performance to 3 = best performance; total point = 36) and completion time (in seconds) on a functionally oriented obstacle course Practice group = significantly decreased the completion time (440.9 to 351.6 s); increased in performance score (24.6 to 26.4) (p’s < 0.05)
Community-dwelling; Balance and mobility exercise protocol:
One or more falls within a year prior to the study Active stretching, postural control, endurance walking, repetitive muscle coordination exercises
Non-practice group = significantly decreased the completion time (319.1 to 293.5 secs); increased in performance score (25.7 to 26.7) (p’s < 0.05)
Gender: no specified Self-reported falls = number of falls
Cognitive intervention sessions Fall related injuries Between groups = no significant differences in the completion time performance score (p > 0.05)
Intervention group (n = 31) Practice group = received extra training on an obstacle course along with the exercise protocol
Mean age: 75 Between groups = no significant difference in number of falls (p > 0.05)
Control group (n = 34)
Mean age, 75 Non-practice group = receive no training on an obstacle course but only the exercise protocol Overall, all participants = decreased the completion time (378 to 321 secs); improved in mean performance scores (from 25.2 to 26.5 points) after the exercise protocols
Overall intervention compliance = no information
Wolfson et al., 1996 [68] Physical health RCT N = 110 Phase 1 Loss of balance during sensory organization test (LOB) = number of times that participants received support from the experimenter Balance group = significant improvements in LOB (3.6 to 1.4), FBOS (0.44 to 0.52 % of foot length), SST (12.2 to 16.6 s) (p’s < 0.001); no improvement in ISOK (8.0 to 8.1 Nm/kg) and UGV (1.14 to 1.18 m/s) (p’s > 0.05)
Community-dwelling 3-month balance and strength training were provided to the respective groups (45-min per week)
Healthy
Male, 64; Female, 46
Balance group (n = 28) Control group was encouraged to continue their usual activities Functional Base of Support (FBOS) = % of foot length Strength group = significant improvements in ISOK (6.5 to 8.0 Nm/kg) and LOB (3.7 to 2.1) (p’s < 0.001); no improvements in other measures: FBOS (0.38 to 0.39 % of foot length), and SST (9.1 to 10.0 secs), and UGV (1.08 to 1.17 m/s) (p’s > 0.05)
Mean age, 78.9
Strength group (n = 28) Phase 2 Single Stance Time (SST) = seconds
Isokinetic strength (ISOK) = Nm/kg
Mean age, 80.0 6-month low-intensity balance and strength maintenance programe (Tai Chi training with self-administered home practice) (1 hour per week) Usual Gait Velocity (UGV) = m/s Balance and strength group = significant improvements in LOB (3.6 to 1.9), FBOS (0.4 to 0.5 % of foot length), SST (5.4 to 15.1 secs), ISOK (6.8 to 8.0 Nm/kg) (p’s < 0.001); no significant improvement in UGV (1.12 to 1.09 m/s) (p’s > 0.05)
Balance and strength group (n = 27)
Mean age, 79.7
Control group (n = 27)
Mean age, 80.6 Overall intervention compliance = 72 % Overall, no group differences (p’s > 0.10)
Mangione et al., 1999 [60] Physical health Pre-post test N = 39 Duration, 10 weeks Timed chair rise = second High intensity group = significantly reduced the chair rise time (23.5 to 19.3 secs) and AIMS2 pain score (4.3 to 3.0); significantly increased in 6-min walk (488.0 to 540.6 m), aerobic capacity (11.0 to 13.3 min), and peak oxygen
Exercise training = Stationary cycling; 1 hour each session; cycle 25 min; 3 times per week 6-min walk test = m
Arthritis Impact Measurement Scale 2 (AIMS2) pain score
High intensity group = stationary cycling at 70 % heart rate reserve
Aerobic capacity time for graded exercise test = min consumption (1454.1 to 1545.3 ml/min) (p’s < 0.01)
Low-intensity group = stationary cycling at 40 % heart rate reserve
Low-intensity group = significantly reduced the chair rise time (23.1 to 19.0 secs) and AIMS2 pain score (3.6 to 3.1); significantly increased in 6-min walk (491.1 to 526.9 m), aerobic capacity time (11.1 to 13.0 min), and peak oxygen consumption (1710.2 to 1807.3 ml/min) (p’s < 0.01)
Peak oxygen consumption = ml/min
Overall intervention compliance = no information
Suffered from knee osteoarthritis
Community-dwelling
Male, 13; Female, 26
High intensity cycling group (n = 19) mean age = 71.1
Low-intensity cycling group (n = 20)
Mean age = 71.0
Study Domain Design Sample Intervention Key outcomes Results
Brown et al., 2000 [55] Physical health RCT N = 87 Duration, 3 months Physical Performance Test (PPT) score EXER group = significant improvements on the PPT score (29 to 31 points), strength measures (e.g., isometric knee extension: 62 to 65 ft/lb), ranged of motion (e.g., shoulder flexion: 160 to 165 mm), balance measures (e.g., one-limb stand: 4.1 to 7.6 s), and coordination and response time (358 to 377) (p’s < 0.05); no significant improvements in gait measures (p > 0.05)
Community-dwelling Supervised exercise group = low-intensity supervised exercise program (22 exercises; 3 times per week) targeting all muscle groups Strength measures = ft/lb
<32 points on Physical Performance Test (PPT) Range of motion = mm
Balance measures:
Male, 20; Female, 28 Obstacle course = second; functional reach = inch; Romberg = second; one-limb stand = second; balance beam = second)
Supervised exercise group (EXER) (n = 48) Home-based flexibility activity group = some of the exercises done in the other group and were not supervised.
HOME group = no significant improvements on PPT score (29 to 29 points), strength measures (e.g., Isometric knee extension: 56 to 54 ft/lb), balance measures (e.g., one-limb stand, 4.9 to 5.2 secs) and gait measures (p’s > 0.05); significant improvements in range of motion (e.g., should flexion, 159 to 161 mm), balance, gait, coordination/response time (351 to 417 msecs) (p’s < 0.05)
Gait measures : gait velocity = m/min; stride length = m ; stance time = second; swing = % of gait cycle; stance = % of gait cycle; double stance = %
Mean age, 83 Overall intervention compliance = no information
Home-based flexibility activity group (HOME) (n = 39)
Coordination/response = msec
Mena age, 83
DeVito et al., 2000 [57] Physical health Pre-post test N = 105 Duration, 8–10 months Mobility measures score Intervention group = significant improvements in all outcomes (e.g. Balance score: 9.6 to 12.8) (p’s < 0.001)
Had a hospital admission lasting 2 days or more or had been on bed rest for 2 days or more within the past 1 month Intervention group = 24 sessions (45 min) of 3 sets of low-intensity standard exercise modalities (3 times a week) targeting on flexibility, postural stability, balance and gait (e.g., extend leg up then back down, raise up and down on toes then heels, march in place etc.); continue performing exercise until 1 year after the baseline assessment; Individualization of the program according to participant’s ability and progress Gait score
Balance score Control group = significant improvements in all outcomes (e.g., Balance score: 9.8 to 10.4) (p’s < 0.001)
Muscle strength score
Between groups = intervention group has significant greater samples in improving in gait, balance and mobility measures (p’s < 0.001). e.g., 35.1 % of intervention group increased in walking ability while 15.9 % of control groups increased in walking ability (p < 0.001)
Male, 47; Female, 58
Intervention group (n = 60)
Mean age, 80
Control group (n = 45)
Mean age, 81
Control group = usual activities
Overall intervention compliance = 91 %
Schnelle et al., 2003 [66] Physical health RCT N = 190 Duration, 8 months Medical conditions (dermatological, genitourinary, gastrointestinal, respiratory, endocrine, neurological and cardiovascular systems, falls, and pain, psychiatric and nutritional disturbances) were extracted Between groups = intervention group has significant smaller number of falls than the control group (p’ < 0.05); no difference on other medical conditions and cost of treatment (p’s > 0.05)
Living in nursing home Intervention group = engaged into the low-intensity functional oriented exercise program: Functional Incidental Training (FIT) (5 days a week; every 2 h between 0800 to 1600)
Male, 28; Female, 162
Intervention group (n = 92)
Mean age, 87.3 Cost of treatment
Control group (n = 98)
Mean age, 88.6 Control group = received usual care from NH staff; no change in their physical activity or other measures.
Overall intervention compliance = 91 %
Morgan et al., 2004 [63] Physical health RCT N = 229 Duration, 8 weeks Gait and balance (Tinetti’s gait and balance assessment measures) Exercise group = 28.6 % participants fell; risk of falling decreased with low baseline physical function (p < 0.001); increased fall risk with high physical function (p < 0.001)
Had a hospital admission or bed rest for 2 days or more within the previous month Exercise group = perform chair-sitting exercise and standing balance exercises; 3 times per week.
Control group = 30.9 % participants fell
Self-reported functional status (SF-36) = range, 0-100
Control group = continue their usual activities. Number of fall for 1 year after the assessment Overall, 29.7 % of the participants reported a fall during study period
Overall intervention compliance = 70 %
Male, 67; Female, 162
Exercise group (n = 119)
Mean age, 81.0
Control group (n = 110)
Mean age, 80.1