Purpose: To compare the effectiveness of home- and group-based, progressive resistance training programs and a group walking program in improving functional performance in older adults.
Design: A quasi-experimental trial, in which retirement villages were assigned to one of three groups: home-based resistance training, group-based resistance training, and group-based walking.
Subjects: One hundred sixty-seven retirement village residents aged 65 to 96 years.
Intervention: Nine resistance training exercises, using graded exercise bands and body weight, two balance exercises, and 10 stretches. Home-based participants were given an exercise booklet, 8 hours of instruction, and telephone support. Instructors supervised the group-based resistance training and walking programs. Each group exercised twice weekly for 20 weeks.
Measures: Functional performance (strength, aerobic endurance, flexibility, and agility/ dynamic balance) was assessed using the Senior Fitness Test.
Analysis: Intervention effects were evaluated using mixed-model, repeated measures analysis of variance.
Results: Significant between-group differences were observed only for the lower-body flexibility test. Group resistance training participants improved, but home resistance training and walking participants did not. However, strength, lower-body flexibility, and agility/dynamic balance improved in the group-based resistance training participants, and strength and upper-body flexibility improved in the home-based participants. No improvements were observed in the walking group.
Conclusion: Findings support the implementation of both home- and group-based resistance training programs in retirement villages. Encouraging residents to adopt and maintain a resistance training program remains a research priority.