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Effect of 6-month community-based exercise interventions on gait and functional fitness of an older population: a quasi-experimental study

Authors Ramalho F, Santos-Rocha R, Branco M, Moniz-Pereira V, André HI, Veloso AP, Carnide F

Received 16 November 2017

Accepted for publication 4 January 2018

Published 6 April 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 595—606


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Fátima Ramalho,1,2 Rita Santos-Rocha,1,2 Marco Branco,1,2 Vera Moniz-Pereira,2 Helô-Isa André,2 António P Veloso,2 Filomena Carnide2

1Sport Sciences School of Rio Maior (ESDRM), Polytechnic Institute of Santarém, Rio Maior, Portugal; 2Laboratory of Biomechanics and Functional Morphology, Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Human Performance (CIPER), Faculty of Human Kinetics (FMH), University of Lisbon, Cruz Quebrada, Portugal

Background: Gait ability in older adults has been associated with independent living, increased survival rates, fall prevention, and quality of life. There are inconsistent findings regarding the effects of exercise interventions in the maintenance of gait parameters.
Objectives: The aim of the study was to analyze the effects of a community-based periodized exercise intervention on the improvement of gait parameters and functional fitness in an older adult group compared with a non-periodized program.
Methods: A quasi-experimental study with follow-up was performed in a periodized exercise group (N=15) and in a non-periodized exercise group (N=13). The primary outcomes were plantar pressure gait parameters, and the secondary outcomes were physical activity, aerobic endurance, lower limb strength, agility, and balance. These variables were recorded at baseline and after 6 months of intervention.
Results: Both programs were tailored to older adults’ functional fitness level and proved to be effective in reducing the age-related decline regarding functional fitness and gait parameters. Gait parameters were sensitive to both the exercise interventions.
These exercise protocols can be used by exercise professionals in prescribing community exercise programs, as well as by health professionals in promoting active aging.

mobility, community exercise programs, active aging, plantar pressure analysis, ground reaction forces, gait properties

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