Wójcicki, T.R., Fanning, J., Awick, E.A., Olson, E.A., Motl, R.W., & McAuley, E. (2014). Maintenance effects of a DVD-delivered exercise intervention on physical function in older adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, doi: 10.1093/gerona/glu188.
Background: Exercise training has been demonstrated to enhance physical function and to have a protective effect against functional limitations and disability in older adults. Purpose: The objective of this study was to determine whether the effects of a home-based, DVD-delivered exercise intervention on functional performance and limitations were maintained 6-month postintervention termination. Methods: Follow-up assessments of functional performance and limitations were conducted in a sample of community-dwelling older adults (N = 237) who participated in a 6-month randomized controlled exercise trial. Participants were initially randomized to a DVD-delivered exercise intervention or an attentional control condition. The Short Physical Performance Battery, measures of flexibility and strength, and functional limitations were assessed immediately before and after the intervention and then again 6 months later. Analyses of covariance were conducted to examine changes in physical function between the two conditions at the end of the intervention to 6-month follow-up. Results: There were statistically significant adjusted group differences in the Short Physical Performance Battery (η2 = 0.03, p = .01), upper-body strength (η2 = 0.03, p = .005), and lower-body flexibility (η2 = 0.02, p = .05), indicating that gains brought about by the intervention were maintained 6 months later. Conclusions: A DVD-delivered exercise program specifically designed to target elements of functional fitness in older adults can produce clinically meaningful gains in physical function that are maintained beyond intervention cessation.