School of Medical and Health Sciences
Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) / Deakin University / Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Investigator Grant (GNT1174886)
NHMRC Number : GNT1174886
Background: Very few older adults meet current muscle strengthening exercise guidelines, and several barriers exist to supervised, community-based resistance exercise programs. Older adults therefore require access to feasible resistance exercise modalities that may be performed remotely. This pilot study assessed the feasibility and acceptability of undertaking a four-week home-based resistance ‘exercise snacking’ intervention (performed either once, twice, or thrice daily) when delivered and monitored remotely in older adults. Methods: Thirty-eight community-dwelling older adults [mean ± SD age 69.8 ± 3.8 y, 63% female] were randomised to complete resistance ‘exercise snacks’ (9-minute sessions) either once (n = 9), twice (n = 10), or thrice (n = 9) daily, or allocated to usual-activity control (n = 10). Exercise adherence and adverse events were assessed using an exercise diary, and acceptability of the intervention was explored using an online questionnaire. Physical function [balance, 5-times sit-to-stand (STS), and 30-second STS tests] was assessed remotely at baseline and follow-up using videoconferencing. Results: The intervention was feasible and safe, with 100% participant retention, high adherence (97, 82, and 81% for once, twice, and thrice daily, respectively), and only two adverse events from a total of 1317 ‘exercise snacking’ sessions. The exercise intervention was rated as enjoyable (75% reported their enjoyment as ≥ 4 on a 5-point Likert scale), easy to perform, and most (82%) planned to continue similar exercise at home. We also found it was feasible to assess measures of physical function via videoconferencing, although effect sizes for 4-week changes in both 5-STS (d range, 0.4–1.4) and 30-STS (d range, 0.7–0.9) following the exercise intervention were similar to controls (d = 1.1 and 1.0 for 5-STS and 30-STS, respectively). Conclusions: Resistance ‘exercise snacking’ may be a feasible strategy for engaging older adults in home-based resistance exercise when delivered and monitored remotely. The findings of this pilot feasibility trial support the need for longer-term studies in larger cohorts to determine the effectiveness of resistance ‘exercise snacking’ approaches for improving physical function in older adults. Trial registration: The trial was retrospectively registered on 10/11/2021 with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) (ACTRN12621001538831).
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