Background: Data regarding the effect of exercise programmes on older adults' health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and habitual physical activity are inconsistent.
Objective: To determine whether a functional tasks exercise programme (enhances functional capacity) and a resistance exercise programme (increases muscle strength) have a different effect on the HRQOL and physical activity of community-dwelling older women.
Methods: Ninety-eight women were randomised to a functional tasks exercise programme (function group), a resistance exercise programme (resistance group), or normal activity group (control group). Participants attended exercise classes three times a week for 12 weeks. The SF-36 Health Survey questionnaire and self-reported physical activity were obtained at baseline, directly after completion of the intervention (3 months), and 6 months later (9 months).
Results: At 3 months, no difference in mean change in HRQOL and physical activity scores was seen between the groups, except for an increased SF-36 physical functioning score for the resistance group compared with the control group (p = 0.019) and the function group (p = 0.046). Between 3 and 9 months, the self-reported physical functioning score of the function group decreased to below baseline (p = 0.026), and physical activity (p = 0.040) decreased in the resistance group compared with the function group.
Conclusions: Exercise has a limited effect on the HRQOL and self-reported physical activity of community-living older women. Our results suggest that in these subjects HRQOL measures may be affected by ceiling effects and response shift. Studies should include performance-based measures in addition to self-report HRQOL measures, to obtain a better understanding of the effect of exercise interventions in older adults.
Copyright 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.