A little goes a long way when training older adults with lower-extremity osteoarthritis, according to
a study in the April 2004 issue of The Gerontologist (2004; 44 , 217–28). Researchers looked at the impact of a low-cost, multicomponent physical
activity intervention that included range-of-motion exercises, resistance training, aerobic walking and exercise adherence education. Subjects were randomized to either a control group or a training group. The latter participated in a facility-based program followed by home-based adherence. The research team conducted assessments at baseline and after 2 and 6 months.
Among the training group, exercise adherence increased by 48.5% and distance walked in 6 minutes increased by 13.3%. These increases were
“accompanied by significant decreases in lower-
extremity stiffness.” In contrast, participants in
the control group “deteriorated over time on the
efficacy and adherence measures and showed no change on the other measures.”