Objectives: Frailty is a state of vulnerability associated with increased risks of fall, hospitalization, cognitive deficits, and psychological distress. Studies with healthy senior suggest that physical exercise can help improve cognition and quality of life. Whether frail older adults can show such benefits remains to be documented.
Method: A total of 83 participants aged 61-89 years were assigned to an exercise-training group (3 times a week for 12 weeks) or a control group (waiting list). Frailty was determined by a complete geriatric examination using specific criteria. Pre- and post-test measures assessed physical capacity, cognitive performance, and quality of life.
Results: Compared with controls, the intervention group showed significant improvement in physical capacity (functional capacities and physical endurance), cognitive performance (executive functions, processing speed, and working memory), and quality of life (global quality of life, leisure activities, physical capacity, social/family relationships, and physical health). Benefits were overall equivalent between frail and nonfrail participants.
Discussion: Physical exercise training leads to improved cognitive functioning and psychological well-being in frail older adults.