Measuring the Implementation of Lifestyle-Integrated Functional Exercise in Primary Care for Older Adults: Results of a Feasibility Study

Can J Aging. 2019 Apr 5;1-17. doi: 10.1017/S0714980818000739. Online ahead of print.


ABSTRACTOur pilot study evaluated the feasibility, effectiveness, and implementation of a group-based lifestyle-integrated functional exercise (Mi-LiFE) program for older adults in an interprofessional primary care practice. A physical therapist taught participants how to integrate strength and balance activities into daily routines during one individual and four group sessions, and two follow-up phone calls. Feasibility outcomes were recruitment, adherence, and retention over 6 months. Physical activity (PA) (accelerometer, International Physical Activity Questionnaire [IPAQ]), Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), and health-related quality of life (EuroQol Five-Dimensional Questionnaire with 3 Levels [EQ5D-3L]) were evaluated at baseline and 6 months. Of the 123 eligible individuals, 39 per cent participated and 61 per cent were not interested or unreachable. Forty-eight participants (mean ± standard deviation [SD] age = 81 ± 5 years; body mass index [BMI] = 28 ± 5 kg/m2; 60% women; moderate-to-vigorous PA = 49 ± 87 minutes/week) enrolled. Four participants withdrew prior to intervention. Thirty-two participants (67%) were retained at follow-up. Daily diary-documented adherence was 50 per cent at 6 months, and 77 per cent attended more than four sessions. No statistically significant changes in moderate-to-vigorous PA and SPPB outcomes were observed; yet self-reported strength and balance PA and quality of life significantly improved at follow-up. The Mi-LiFE program is feasible with acceptable recruitment and attendance rates alongside modifications to address retention and adherence challenges. These findings inform the feasibility of future pragmatic exercise programs in primary care for older adults.

Keywords: activité physique; aging; exercice; exercise; fall prevention; older adults; personnes âgées; physical activity; physical therapy; physiothérapie; primary care; prévention des chutes; soins de première ligne; vieillissement.