The effects of a structured group exercise programme on functional fitness of older persons living in old-age homes

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Abstract

Despite the benefits of exercise, a large percentage of the older population in South Africa continue to lead sedentary lifestyles. This study aimed to determine the effects of a structured group exercise programme on functional fitness of older persons living in old-age homes. A quasi-experimental design was used to compare the effects of a 12-week group exercise programme. Twenty participants each were selected from five old-age homes. Participants were randomly allocated into either an experimental group or a comparison group at each site. The experimental group participated in the exercise intervention three times weekly, while the com¬ parison group received the same intervention twice weekly for 12 weeks. The intervention programme included warm-up, balance, endurance, resistance and cool-down components. Assessments of upper and lower body strength and flexibility, aerobic endurance, agility and balance were conducted before and after the inter¬ vention programme using the Senior Functional Test. Comparisons of baseline and post-intervention measures showed greater improvements in upper and lower body strength and flexibility, as well as aerobic endurance capacity (p< 0.05). Training frequency revealed no significant difference in functional fitness measures between both groups following the 12-week intervention programme. Twelve weeks of multifaceted group exercise training, at least twice a week, can be used as an effective strategy to promote functional fitness in this population.

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Chetty, L., Ramklass, S. S., & McKune, A. J. (2019). The effects of a structured group exercise programme on functional fitness of older persons living in old-age homes. Ageing and Society, 39(9), 1857–1872. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X18000235

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