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First published in BMC Geriatrics, 22, 738 (2022) published by Springer Nature. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-022-03435-3

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Accelerometer, Ageing, Core Stability, Detraining, Exercise Therapy, Fear-of-falling, Mental health, Older adults, Psychological Functioning, Walking

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BMC Geriatrics





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Background: Engaging in multimodal exercise program helps mitigate age-related decrements by improving muscle size, muscle strength, balance, and physical function. The addition of trunk-strengthening within the exercise program has been shown to significantly improve physical functioning outcomes. Whether these improvements result in improved psychological outcomes associated with increased physical activity levels requires further investigation. We sought to explore whether the inclusion of trunk-strengthening exercises to a multimodal exercise program improves objectively measured physical activity levels and self-reported psychological functioning in older adults. Method: We conducted a secondary analysis within a single-blinded parallel-group randomized controlled trial. Sixty-four healthy older (≥ 60 years) adults were randomly allocated to a 12-week walking and balance exercise program with (n = 32) or without (n = 32) inclusion of trunk strengthening exercises. Each program involved 12 weeks of exercise training, followed by a 6-week walking-only program (identified as detraining). Primary outcome measures for this secondary analysis were physical activity (accelerometry), perceived fear-of-falling, and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Results: Following the 12-week exercise program, no significant between-group differences were observed for physical activity, sedentary behaviour, fear-of-falling, or symptoms of anxiety or depression. Significant within-group improvements (adjusted mean difference [95%CI]; percentage) were observed in moderate-intensity physical activity (6.29 [1.58, 11.00] min/day; + 26.3%) and total number of steps per min/day (0.81 [0.29 to 1.33] numbers or + 16.3%) in trunk-strengthening exercise group by week 12. With respect to within-group changes, participants in the walking-balance exercise group increased their moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (4.81 [0.06 to 9.56] min/day; + 23.5%) and reported reduction in symptoms of depression (-0.26 [-0.49 to -0.04] points or -49%) after 12 weeks of the exercise program. The exercise-induced increases in physical activity levels in the trunk-strengthening exercise group were abolished 6-weeks post-program completion. While improvements in physical activity levels were sustained in the walking-balance exercise group after detraining phase (walking only). Conclusions: The inclusion of trunk strengthening to a walking-balance exercise program did not lead to statistically significant between-group improvements in physical activity levels or psychological outcomes in this cohort following completion of the 12-week exercise program. Trial registration: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12613001176752), registered on 28/10/2013.


Department of Health, Recreation, and Community Services

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UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

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©2022 The Authors. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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