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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: NUTRITION, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND SARCOPENIA IN THE ELDERLY

Location: Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging

Title: Increases in muscle strength and balance using a resistance training program administered via a telecommunications system in older adults

Authors
item Sparrow, David -
item Gottlieb, Daniel J. -
item Demolles, Deborah -
item Fielding, Roger A. -

Submitted to: Journal of Gerontology Medical Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 16, 2011
Publication Date: August 17, 2011
Citation: Sparrow, D., Gottlieb, D., Demolles, D., Fielding, R. 2011. Increases in muscle strength and balance using a resistance training program administered via a telecommunications system in older adults. Journal of Gerontology Medical Science. DOI: 10.1093/gerona/girl38.

Interpretive Summary: Strength training exercise programs have been found to improve muscle strength and physical function in middle-aged and older adults. These programs have typically been provided in clinical facilities, health clubs, and senior centers which may be inconvenient and/or cost prohibitive for some older adults. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of an automated telephone intervention (telemedicine) that provides real-time guidance and monitoring of resistance training in the home for older adults. One hundred and three middle-aged or elderly subjects were assigned to receive the telephone strength training program or a control program consisting of health information by telephone. We measured muscle strength, balance, walk distance, and mood were obtained at study entry, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months. We observed increased strength, improved balance, and fewer depressive symptoms in the group that received the exercise program by telephone than the control group. This computer-based telecommunications exercise intervention led to improvements in participants’ strength, balance, walk distance, and depressive symptoms. Because of their low cost and easy accessibility, computer-based interventions may be a cost-effective way of promoting exercise in the home for older adults.

Technical Abstract: BACKGROUND: Resistance training programs have been found to improve muscle strength, physical function, and depressive symptoms in middle-aged and older adults. These programs have typically been provided in clinical facilities, health clubs, and senior centers, which may be inconvenient and/or cost prohibitive for some older adults. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of an automated telemedicine intervention that provides real-time guidance and monitoring of resistance training in the home. METHODS: A randomized clinical trial in 103 middle-aged or older participants. Participants were assigned to use of a theory-driven interactive voice response system designed to promote resistance training (Telephone-Linked Computer-based Long-term Interactive Fitness Trainer; n = 52) or to an attention control (n = 51) for a period of 12 months. Measurements of muscle strength, balance, walk distance, and mood were obtained at baseline, 3, 6, and 12 months. RESULTS: We observed increased strength, improved balance, and fewer depressive symptoms in the intervention group than in the control group. Using generalized estimating equations modeling, group differences were statistically significant for knee flexion strength (p = .035), single-leg stance time (p = .029), and Beck Depression Inventory (p = .030). CONCLUSIONS: This computer-based telecommunications exercise intervention led to improvements in participants' strength, balance, and depressive symptoms. Because of their low cost and easy accessibility, computer-based interventions may be a cost-effective way of promoting exercise in the home.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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