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Journal Article

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Fien, S., Henwood, T., Climstein, M., & Keogh, J. W. L. (2016). Feasibility and benefits of group-based exercise in residential aged care adults: A pilot study for the GrACE programme. PeerJ, 4. doi:10.7717/peerj.2018

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© 2016 Fien et al.




The objective of the study was to examine the feasibility and benefits of a group resistance training exercise programme for improving muscle function in institutionalised older adults. A feasibility and acceptability study was designed for a residential aged care (RAC) facility, based on the Gold Coast, Australia. Thirty-seven adults, mean age 86.8 ± 6.1 years (30 females) living in a RAC facility. Participants were allocated into an exercise (n = 20) or control (n = 17) group. The exercise group, the Group Aged Care Exercise (GrACE) programme, performed 12 weeks of twice weekly resistance exercises. Feasibility was measured via recruitment rate, measurement (physiological and surveys) completion rate, loss-to-follow-up, exercise session adherence, adverse events, and ratings of burden and acceptability. Muscle function was assessed using gait speed, sit-to-stand and handgrip strength assessments. All intervention participants completed pre- and post-assessments, and the exercise intervention, with 85% (n = 17) of the group attending ≥ 18 of the 24 sessions and 15% (n = 3) attending all sessions. Acceptability was 100% with exercise participants, and staff who had been involved with the programme strongly agreed that the participants “Benefited from the programme.” There were no adverse events reported by any participants during the exercise sessions. When compared to the control group, the exercise group experienced significant improvements in gait speed (F(4.078) = 8.265, p = 0.007), sit to stand performance (F(3.24) = 11.033, p = 0.002) and handgrip strength (F(3.697) = 26.359, p < 0.001). Resistance training via the GrACE programme is feasible, safe and significantly improves gait speed, sit-to-stand performance and handgrip strength in RAC adults.



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