Maintenance of Physical Function 1 Year after Exercise Intervention in At-Risk Older Adults: Follow-up from the LIFE Study

Rebecca M. Henderson*, Michael E. Miller, Roger A. Fielding, Thomas M. Gill, Nancy W. Glynn, Jack M. Guralnik, Abby King, Anne B. Newman, Todd M. Manini, Anthony P. Marsh, Marco Pahor, Mary M. McDermott, Jack Rejeski, Catrine Tudor-Locke, Stephen B. Kritchevsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Structured physical activity interventions delay the onset of disability for at-risk older adults. However, it is not known if at-risk older adults continue to participate in physical activity or maintain mobility benefits after cessation of structured intervention. Methods: One thousand six hundred and thirty-five sedentary men and women aged 7089 years with Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) scores of 9 or less and able to walk 400 m were randomized to a structured, moderate-intensity physical activity (PA) program consisting of center-based (twice/week) and home-based (three to four times per week) aerobic, resistance, and flexibility training or a health education (HE) program combined with upper extremity stretching. Results: Most of the participants (88% of HE and 87% of PA) returned for a follow-up visit (POST) 1 year after cessation of formal intervention. The HE group reported about 1-hour less activity per week than the PA group at end of intervention (LAST TRIAL; -68.9; 95% confidence interval [CI] = -86.5 to -51.3) but similar weekly activity at POST (-13.5; 95% CI = -29.5 to 2.47). SPPB did not differ between the two groups at LAST TRIAL (-0.06; 95% CI = -0.31 to 0.19) nor POST (-0.18; 95% CI = -0.45 to 0.088). Conclusions: Although sedentary at-risk older adults increased their physical activity during a structured physical activity intervention, they did not continue at this level following the cessation of intervention. Future exercise interventions need to include novel methods to support older adults in continued physical activity following structured interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)688-694
Number of pages7
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 17 2018


  • Exercise
  • Physical Activity
  • Physical Function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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