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Diverse Exercises Similarly Reduce Older Adults’ Mobility Limitations


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: September 2019 - Volume 51 - Issue 9 - p 1809–1816
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002001

Introduction/Purpose Little is known about the comparative effectiveness of exercise programs, especially when delivered at a high intensity, in mobility-limited older adults. We compared the effects of 25 sessions of high-intensity agility exergaming (EXE) and stationary cycling (CYC) at the same cardiovascular load on measured and perceived mobility limitations, balance, and health-related quality of life in mobility-limited older adults.

Methods Randomized to EXE (n = 28) and CYC (n = 27), mobility-impaired older adults (age 70 yr) exercised five times per week for 5 wk at 80% of age-predicted maximal heart rate. Waitlisted controls did not exercise (n = 28).

Results Groups did not differ at baseline in any outcomes (P > 0.05). The primary outcomes (The Short Form-36-Health Survey: EXE, 6.9%; effect size, 2.2; CYC, 5.5%, 1.94; Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index: EXE, −27.2%, −3.83; CYC, −17.2, −2.90) improved similarly (P > 0.05). Secondary outcomes, including body mass (−3.7%), depression (−18%), and walking capacity (13.5%) also improved (P < 0.05) similarly after the two interventions. Activities of daily living, Berg Balance Score, BestTest scores, and Dynamic Gait Index improved more (P < 0.05) after EXE than CYC. Center of pressure of standing sway path improved in one of six tests only after EXE (P < 0.05). Postexercise cardiovascular response improved in EXE (P = 0.019). CON did not change in any outcomes (P > 0.05).

Conclusions When matched for cardiovascular and perceived effort, two diverse high-intensity exercise programs improved health-related quality of life, perceived mobility limitation, and walking capacity similarly and balance outcomes more in mobility-limited older adults, expanding these older adults’ evidence-based exercise options to reduce mobility limitations.

1Somogy County Kaposi Mór Teaching Hospital, Kaposvár, HUNGARY

2Department of Pharmacology, Surveillance, and Economics, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, HUNGARY

3University of Groningen, Center for Human Movement Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, THE NETHERLANDS

Address for correspondence: Tibor Hortobágyi, Ph.D., Center for Human Movement Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen, A. Deusinglaan 1, Groningen, 9713AV, The Netherlands; E-mail:

Submitted for publication November 2018.

Accepted for publication March 2019.

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Online date: April 10, 2019

© 2019 American College of Sports Medicine