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Exercise provides ‘multiple benefits’ to nursing home residents

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Older people living in nursing homes and who take part in a regular, organised exercise programme gain multiple benefits, including a reduced falls risk and less frailty, according to Spanish researchers.

They found residents those who participated in a six-month programme of individualised and progressive multi-component exercise at moderate intensity experienced fewer falls than those in a control group that participated in routine activities.

“Individualised and progressive multicomponent exercise at moderate intensity seems to be effective”

Study authors

In addition, after the programme, there was a lower prevalence of frailty and fewer deaths in the intervention group compared with the control group.

The intervention consisted of one-hour supervised group training sessions twice a week for a six-month period and involved individualised strength and balance exercises.

Walking recommendations were also individually tailored in duration and intensity, said the study authors in a Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The study sample comprised 112 men and women aged 70 years or older who were capable of standing up and walking independently for at least 10 minutes.

After six months, a lower prevalence of frailty was observed in the intervention group compared with the controls according to measuring techniques, including Fried’s frailty phenotype, Short Physical Performance Battery, and Tilburg Frailty Indicator.

Both groups experienced a similar number of falls before and after the intervention, but during the six‐month intervention period, fewer falls were observed in the intervention group than the controls.

Lower overall mortality was observed 12 months after starting the intervention for the intervention group than the control group – one versus six, respectively.

“Individualised and progressive multicomponent exercise at moderate intensity seems to be effective to prevent falls and reduce frailty and mortality,” said the study authors.

“Further research is needed to ascertain whether those who engage in this kind of individualized program ultimately die with better function and lower dependency,” they added.

The study was led by researchers from the University of the Basque Country in Leioa, Spain.

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